Half-time clips helped Tottenham to victory, reveals Pochettino
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The Spurs manager hailed the effort of his players and discussed Heung-min Son and Juan Foyth after Wednesday’s famous win
Mauricio Pochettino pinpointed the key difference between Tottenham Hotspur’s first half showing compared to their display after the break when reflecting on Spurs’ fine 3-0 triumph over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night.
At half time of the Champions League round of 16 first leg tie at Wembley Stadium, the score remained goalless, but the visitors had edged proceedings.
Everything changed just a minute into the second period, though, when Tottenham opened the scoring through Heung-min Son.
Dortmund were expected to come back and lay siege to the home goal, but instead Spurs produced a mature display and capped it off with late goals from the impressive Jan Vertonghen and substitute Fernando Llorente.
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But what changed at the interval? Pochettino explained: “The first half was very difficult. First of all because our feeling was we never felt the confidence to play.
“We took some rash decisions. It was like we weren’t comfortable and we didn’t feel what we planned to play.
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“But after fixing some problems, showing them some clips at half-time and talking a little about different positions - offensive and defensive – we managed to try to help the team to perform better.
“Also we were a bit lucky because it was a massive confidence boost when ‘Sonny’ scored and that made the team perform much better.
“We deserved the victory in the end. I think it was a massive victory and one more time the players deserve all the credit. They were fantastic.
“To play after Sunday (3-1 win over Leicester City), how we play with one day less recovery, I think we need to praise them and they’ve won the possibility to have a few days off.”
Pochettino had confirmed in the build-up to the knock-out clash his team would get an overdue break following the Wembley clash.
One player who perhaps deserves it more than most is Son, who has been sensational for Tottenham in recent months.
He continued his remarkable run of form against Dortmund on Wednesday and in the process made it 16 goals for the season, despite not opening his account until October 31.
“‘Sonny’ was fantastic again, and I think he’s doing fantastic. He’s a player that provides the team with a lot of things, a lot of very good things,” Pochettino said.
“His smile - he translates good energy and then his performance, we have seen again, is improving and improving. We’re so happy and it’s so obvious how he is.”
While Son was always set to be a key man against the Bundesliga leaders, not many would have expected Juan Foyth to start.
The young Argentinian, who recently turned 21, played alongside Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez in a back three.
From the outset he showed his confidence by getting away from two Dortmund rivals in a tight position just outside his own penalty area.
Later in the half he was caught on the ball a handful of times, but as the tension increased, his confidence continued to be displayed and proved crucial to the victory.
Pochettino added: “I’m so happy for him, he was fantastic. Of course he still needs to improve and learn.
“He’s so brave, more brave than you expect and more brave than the people expect. The first action was unbelievable.
“The people were pushing him and then he made a few mistakes because he wanted to play, but I prefer that players who make mistakes trying to play.
“I was a completely different type of centre back, not with his quality, but I love the players who take risks and are brave like he is.”