Mauricio Pochettino was in a jubilant mood after Tottenham Hotspur saw off Manchester City to advance to the Champions League semifinal on Wednesday night. The final score was a loss — City came away with a 4-3 win — but Spurs squeaked through tied 4-4 on aggregate after both legs, and went through on away goals.
Afterwards, Pochettino was ebullient, calling his team “heroes” for the way they fought back and never gave up at the Etihad, despite going into the match short-handed due to injury.
“I can feel proud and very grateful for the efforts of everyone. I think they are heroes. All that happened this season, the circumstances, to be in the semi-final of the Champions League, they deserve a lot of praise and big rewards.
“I am so happy because the effort is massive from the squad, trying to cover and to live with everything. If we have one thing to describe this team, the adaptation with injuries and players... we rotate names but always we keep the same spirit, ideas and philosophy and that is the most important. Our belief and faith [is] in the way we play and work.”
You tell ‘em, Poch! He went on to say that Wednesday’s result proves that Spurs have the ability to go even farther in the competition. They are, in point of order, only three games away from a Champions League title. Could that dream actually come true? Why not!
“Sport always gives you the possibility to beat teams that no one believes or thinks we are capable of. Why? Football is not only about talent but belief and to have the right mentality. This team has the personality, character and mentality to believe all is possible.
“I think that is a massive achievement for us after five years. We feel very proud [that] we can translate that belief and faith that all is possible in football. Only we need to be open and try give our best. With the quality we can have this type of performance and achieve these big things. If not, it’s impossible. With only quality it’s impossible to achieve a semi-final in the Champions League. You need belief, faith and spirit and when start pre-season be strong and start to run and be professional.”