Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham's dominance of Juventus makes me proud and happy despite Champions League exit

Joe Hall
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Son's opener wasn't enough to send Spurs through (Source: Getty)

Defiant Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino assumed a brave face and insisted he was “relaxed and happy” despite his side’s Champions League dream ending with defeat to Juventus at Wembley.

Spurs appeared to have tamed the Italian giants and earned a deserved lead through Heung-Min Son before two quick-fire second-half goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala extinguished their European hopes at the last 16 stage.

It leaves the FA Cup as Spurs’s only hope of silverware this season but Pochettino insisted he was proud of how his players performed in the tie.

“The reality is we conceded three chances and they scored twice,” said the Argentinean.

“And we created many, many chances. I feel very proud. Against a very good time like Juventus, we dominated. Overall in the two games we were much better.

Read more: Pochettino: Tottenham have earned European elite's respect

“I am relaxed and happy. Disappointed, of course, but the quality and capacity of the team was very good.”

Pochettino’s men responded to the frenzied atmosphere that greeted them at Wembley and took just three minutes to first sting Gianluigi Buffon’s fingertips through Son’s rapier-like drive across goal.

After 15 minutes Harry Kane squeezed past the attentions of Giorgio Chiellini and skipped past Buffon but could not beat the tight angle left for him and hit the side-netting.

Son continued to terrorise Juve’s defence, first heading straight at Buffon after 19 minutes and then drilling an effort narrowly wide moments before he finally beat the Italian stalwart with a scuffed effort shortly before the break.

Juventus had not mustered a shot on goal in the opening period, although they did have a penalty appeal waved away when Jan Vertonghen upended Douglas Costa in the penalty area.

Yet a tactical switch by manager Max Allegri on the hour mark swung the tie back in the Italians’ favour in one fell swoop. Within seven minutes of Allegri introducing two full-backs and adjusting his formation, Juventus were ahead.

Higuain instinctively diverted a Sami Khedira header goalwards on 63 minutes and Dybala — unavailable for the first leg — dealt the hammer blow four minutes later when he beat Spurs’ offside trap and clipped past Lloris.

Spurs bombarded Juventus’ goal in the closing stages and both Christian Eriksen and Son fired narrowly wide. The final agony came in the last minute when Kane’s header beat Buffon, hit the inside of the post and bounced agonisingly on the line but refused to drop over before being hacked away, along with his team’s European dream.

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