Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has said that his team has accomplished ‘mission impossible’ by qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League. Spurs drew 1-1 against Barcelona to finish second in their group. With first place in their group assured, Barcelona rested many of their regular starters. Ousmane Dembele gave Barcelona the lead after just seven minutes. Spurs were set to lose the match before Lucas Moura struck a late equaliser. The match eventually ended in a 1-1 draw. With Inter Milan drawing 1-1 against PSV at the San Siro, Spurs qualified by virtue of head to head away goals.
Following the match, Pochettino said, “I remember after the result in Eindhoven, no one believed in us. It was a mission impossible – but we are here. We are on the next station. It’s a massive achievement for the club. We are so happy for our fans. It’s a massive boost for the club and to have the chance to play the next round in our new stadium is a massive motivation for us. I am relaxed and staying calm. I don’t think too much about personal achievement or personal goals – of course it’s important for the club and players, we are so happy but for me, it’s always about the win. We will enjoy it a little bit but we are going to prepare for our next game – it will be another battle.”
Pochettino praised Moussa Sissoko who started in the midfield but switched to right-back after Kyle Walker-Peters left the pitch due to injury. He said, “I am so happy because from the day that he signed two-and-a-half years ago, he struggled to adapt at the club, in the way we wanted to play. But in the same way I am so proud of him because he showed that he is a great person, a great man, and that he is a great professional. Then the quality that he has, he gave 200 per cent every single game, sometimes better than others, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. But we can describe him as an honest person and honest player, and that is a massive thing for a player that needs to play for their team. The commitment is fantastic.”
Tottenham next take on Burnley at Wembley on Saturday. Following this, Spurs play rivals Arsenal in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals next Wednesday.