Mauricio Pocchetino: We deserved a victory

Mauricio Pochettino hailed his side’s character after Tottenham overcame a nightmare start to draw 2-2 with Juventus in last night’s Champions League last-16 first leg tie in Turin.

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pocchetino directs his players last night.

“A fantastic game,” was Pochettino’s assessment after Spurs bounced back from conceding twice.

“We were sloppy and conceded two goals in nine minutes, but the character we showed was fantastic. I want to congratulate the players — 2-0 down in Turin to a team so difficult to break down. We deserved a victory more than a draw.”

Pochettino added: “We are more mature now. In the last few weeks, the team are growing and have stepped up. It’s a good example of the capacity we have. The team was amazing in how they reacted.

“You need some luck always in football. The tie is open, Juventus are a massive team. We have the hope we can win [the second leg] in Wembley.”

Harry Kane scored the goal that sparked the comeback and he was understandably elated afterwards.

He said: “We could have [capitulated], away from home in the Champions League. It showed character.

“It was an excellent performance after that and we take two away goals to Wembley. Great result.

“I should have scored the header, but you have to be ready for the next one and I finished it off.”

Christian Eriksen, who scored the equaliser, added: “We are sure we will have chances at Wembley. We go into that game full of confidence and we’re looking forward to it.”

Former Tottenham manager David Pleat said the hosts paid a price for becoming arrogant.

He said: “Juventus were complacent in the first half after going two goals up. It was probably the worst thing that happened to them, because they sat a little bit and Tottenham had no option but to push on. As the game developed they made their ascendancy count.

“Juventus were a little disappointing when you consider their results over the past three months in Italy, it is quite incredible. They faded in the second half in Cardiff when they played Real Madrid in the final last year, they’ve got some ageing players in the squad and were missing some players. They may well have players back maybe, maybe Paulo Dybala, the clever midfielder, will be back for the second game. And they’ve had a good look at Tottenham now, so they know what they are up against, this will be a titanic battle.”

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