Ajax Vs Tottenham: Erik ten Hag praises his team, Mauricio Pochettino shows his emotional side
Written by: Neelav Chakravarti
Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech scored for the hosts in the first half itself.
In what has turned out to be an epic combative 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, Tottenham put in a late inspired display led by Lucas Moura, as they edged past Ajax, to seal a berth in the final against Liverpool.
Towards the end of first half, it looked like Erik ten Hag's youthful Eredivisie side had done enough to book a place in the title clash. But former PSG man Moura had other plans, as he scored a hattrick including a last gasp winner to win the match 2-3 in favour of Spurs in the Amsterdam Arena. The aggregate read 3-3, with Mauricio Pochettino's side going through on away goals. Ajax had won the first leg, 0-1, in England.
Watch: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham, Goals and Highlights
After the match, Pochettino couldn't handle his emotions. Teary-eyed, he told BT Sport, "We were talking before the game in a meeting that when you work and you feel the love. It's not a stress, it's the passion and I think the emotion we showed today is the passion and the love for the sport, it's football, and I think the game against Manchester City and today, it's amazing."
The Argentine quipped, "The fans and the people who are not from Ajax and from Tottenham we showed a lot and I think it was a joy to watch this kind of game, the emotion for us was so tough and difficult too."
"Thank you football. Thank you my players, they are heroes."— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 8, 2019
"Without football it is impossible to live."
No, thank you ????
Mauricio Pochettino cries during his post-match interview with @DesKellyBTS.
This means everything to him... pic.twitter.com/ArpQwwnwDH
He further added, "I think to compete at this level, a magical competition, this situation can happen and of course I am so grateful to be a coach and be in football and to live in this type of moment. It's for my family, it's for them to, the people that support us in these moments, it is for them, so thank you, we need to."
Meanwhile, ten Hag praised his team, expressing that he was proud of them. The 49-year-old said, "I'm very proud of this team and that they made it this far. We have had a great run."
After scoring two goals in the first half itself (second leg), Ajax didn't transition to a defensive formation to protect their lead, rather the team kept on attacking. Also, a lack of experience cost them the game. The former Twente defender quipped, "We tried to shut the game down and we didn't manage."
He stated, "The Champions League final is so unique and the players all realise that very well so you need time to get over it, but we have to get back on track on Sunday. We will have to deal with this and regain composure. We owe it to ourselves and the fans."
"We have had a great season, we have one prize and this group of players is so resilient. We will be there on the pitch on Sunday," quipped the Dutch gaffer.
Tottenham face Liverpool on 2nd June 2019, at the Wanda Metropolitano, with each side expected to go full throttle, in a match consisting of the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Roberto Firmino, Heung-min Son, Harry Kane, and Dele Alli.
Published: Thu May 09, 2019 11:53 AM IST