TOTTENHAM manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted his relief after Spurs navigated a potentially treacherous Sheffield United comeback at Bramall Lane last night to seal their place in the Capital One Cup final.
Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen scored late to complete a classy double and secure Tottenham’s progress but not before teenage substitute Che Adams inspired an unlikely fightback and levelled the aggregate score with his first senior goals.
Four-time winners Tottenham now face a Wembley date with Chelsea on 1 March and a repeat of the 2008 final which Spurs won 2-1 – the north London club’s last piece of silverware.
“For sure I was worried,” said Pochettino. “But over the two legs we deserved to go to the final, to Wembley, and for that I am very happy. Always in football when this type of game arrives it is important to kill the game and to score more goals than only one. In football you need to kill and to score when you have the possibility because we created a lot of chances.
“We gave the possibility to Sheffield and when they scored the second goal it was difficult. The last ten minutes were very difficult, with unbelievable pressure on the pitch.
“It is my first final at Wembley, it is new to me and new to a lot of our players, but we will enjoy it.”
This was Tottenham’s first away League Cup tie since September 2013 and, despite their League One status, United promised a stern examination having dispatched five Premier League clubs in cup competitions over the past 12 months.
The hosts threatened in in the 10th minute when keeper Michel Vorm, much-maligned for his FA Cup clanger against Leicester City, flapped at a cross, forcing Sheffield-born full-back and former Blade Kyle Walker to hack Jamie Murphy’s effort off the line.
The recalled Eriksen, rested from the start against Leicester, conjured Tottenham’s opener shortly before the half-hour mark, curling a majestic and inch-perfect free-kick over the wall and into Mark Howard’s net via the far post.
United reignited the tie with a little over 15 minutes remaining when Adams, a former non-league forward with Ilkeston, maintained his composure to fire a first-time shot past Vorm from Ryan Flynn’s right-wing centre moments after taking the field.
And 140 seconds later, the 18-year-old put the home side ahead on the night as his shot from inside the penalty area flew past a rooted Vorm, following a big deflection off Eric Dier.
Spurs were rocking and fellow teenager Louis Reed rifled a well-struck shot narrowly over the bar before Harry Kane played in an unruffled Eriksen to calmly find the bottom corner with two minutes remaining and the tie poised for extra-time.