Pochettino hails Spurs' character after 'sloppy' start

2018-02-14 00:37:30

Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino was disappointed with a sluggish start but could not fault his side's response, which yielded a 2-2 draw against Juventus in their Champions League first leg last-16 tie.

"I think we started too sloppy and conceded two goals in nine minutes, but the character we showed today was fantastic," he said. "I think we deserved the victory more than the draw. It's so important to recognise and congratulate the players.

"Of course we are more mature. The team is growing and have stepped up in this aspect. I think the team was amazing in the way they reacted."

On Higuain's missed penalty, Pochettino added: "It's true, you need some luck always in football. I think in the second half we played much better.

"The tie is open. Yes, we have the dream and hope that we can beat them at Wembley. Now we need to think about the FA Cup and hope that in the second leg we are going to be as strong too."

Pochettino also paid tribute to former Spurs player Ryan Mason, who has retired after admitting defeat in his quest to recover from the fractured skull he suffered in a clash of heads with Gary Cahill in January 2017.

Pochettino paid tribute to the Hull midfielder at a press conference after the draw with Juventus, saying: "It is very sad news but he opens a door for his future with his family.

"He is 26 but his brain is amazing, he is an amazing person. He will be a very successful person in football, in everything he wants to do. For me, Ryan is a player who will always be special.

"The door is open for me to help him - and the club - because we love him and (wife) Rachel and (son) George and all his family. Don't worry Ryan, you are going to be a successful person outside the pitch."

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