Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino brushed off a predictable European exit and urged his side to achieve “big things” in the Premier League after being outclassed by Borussia Dortmund.
Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang chalked up his 35th goal of the season with a clinical double before a well-beaten Spurs replied through Son Heung-min.
Pochettino’s intentions were clear as he again opted to name leading goalscorer Harry Kane on the substitutes’ bench against an outfit which had not been beaten in their previous 13 matches.
Attention now turns to Sunday when second-placed Tottenham, who trail leaders Leicester by five points, host Bournemouth at White Hart Lane in the next instalment of their bid to win a first top-flight title since 1961.
“We need to take positive things, not be happy but we need to be realistic and try and improve for the next eight games in the Premier League and try to achieve big things,” said Pohcettino.
“The Premier League is very tough and from the beginning of the season we compete a lot in different competitions. Ahead we have very good games to play and we can achieve big things.
“We need to try and win every game to try and maintain our position and go forward. Everything can happen in football. We need to be ready now..”
The visitors signalled their intent shortly before the quarter-of-an-hour mark when forward Marco Reus, who netted twice in the first leg, finished a slick Dortmund move by slamming the ball into the side-netting.
Tottenham’s uphill task turned mountainous 10 minutes later when lethal forward Aubameyang crashed a swerving 25-yard shot beyond outstretched Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The hosts required five goals to progress to the quarter-final and it could have been much worse but for centre-half Toby Alderweireld, who twice denied Dortmund with tenacious defending.
Dortmund’s movement was a constant threat and they again ripped Tottenham apart inside the final 20 minutes as Aubameyang lashed past Lloris after Armenia’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan had led a surging counter-attack.
The German side had not conceded in their previous four matches but a poor backpass from Neven Subotic was pounced upon by Son, who slid the ball into an empty net with goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller stranded.