No justification in branding Spurs bottlers

It was a theme picked up on by Hugo Lloris, who is one of the most experienced Spurs player at this level, mostly from his time with Lyon.

Even though Lloris has less than half of Gianluigi Buffon’s 115 Champions League appearances, he knows you cannot afford to make mistakes at this level, as defenders Davinson Sanchez and Ben Davies made costly individual errors.

“The game turned in a few minutes. We were up against one of the biggest teams in Europe and the performance was good, but sometimes football can be a bit cruel.

“We made two or three mistakes when we could have done better and we need to analyse what went wrong.”

Lloris refutes the accusations that Spurs ‘bottle’ it when it comes to the big games.

We showed in the first leg we have the character to fight at the highest level. It’s a great shame because we played some great football in the Champions League this season so to stop at this stage is disappointing, but we have to make sure we learn from the situation and come back stronger next time.

Indeed one of Pochettino’s hallmarks is his determination to learn from adversity, as he has already shown at Tottenham.

When their title hopes ended with a draw at Chelsea almost two years ago, Tottenham faded so badly in the final games, they finished third following a 5-1 defeat at already relegated Newcastle on the final day.

There was no such mistake last season, as they finished stronger than ever to secure second spot with 15 goals in their final three matches.

Tottenham have also improved considerably in the Champions League over the past year, from the side that lost three of their opening games to the highest points total in this year’s group stages.

A lot of that improvement is down to the belief Pochettino instills in his players.

Ryan Mason played in Tottenham’s 3-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League two years ago this week, and says the transformation in belief and mental strength has been astonishing.

Back then we didn’t believe we could get a result there, and now the same guys are beating Dortmund and Real Madrid, and holding their own in Juventus. They have come a long way.

If Pochettino and his players, staff and supporters are patient, Tottenham can learn and grow in the competition.

After all, it took Alex Ferguson, British football’s greatest manager, 22 years to reach a Champions League final with Manchester United.

Pochettino has not yet been at Tottenham for four years, so time may be on his side.

But with Paris St Germain soon to appoint a new manager, and other European giants courting Pochettino and his best players, will they all be around long enough to see Spurs succeed in the Champions League?

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