Nobody believed Tottenham could reach the Champions League semi-finals after their poor start to the competition, according to Mauricio Pochettino.
Drawn into a group with PSV, Inter and Barcelona, Spurs finished second courtesy of their head-to-head record with the Serie A side thanks to a matchday six draw at Camp Nou.
On Wednesday they reached the last four on away goals despite losing their dramatic quarter-final second leg with Manchester City 4-3.
A controversial Fernando Llorente goal ultimately proved decisive. The ball appeared to hit his arm on its way in with 17 minutes to go, but referee Cuneyt Cakir allowed it to stand after a VAR review.
City thought they had secured a spot in the semi-finals with almost the last kick of the game, but again VAR aided Spurs, with Raheem Sterling’s goal – which would have completed his hat-trick – disallowed due to Sergio Aguero straying offside in the build-up.
Pochettino can scarcely believe what his side have achieved over the last few years, not least given the struggles the club have faced with the move to a new stadium completed midway through the season.
“In November it was not destiny, in the beginning of the season nobody believed in that destiny is going to reward us and five years ago nobody believed we would be here,” he told reporters at a media conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with City.
“Of course I believe in the universe but you need to work, to have the option to be rewarded by the universe. It is an energy there that helps the people that work. you need to work to be rewarded. When you need to look back and assess the key decision with [chairman] Daniel [Levy] to move to the new stadium.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 18, 2019
“Nobody agreed with us, because why not finish the season at Wembley rather than move again to another stadium? But I told you being positive is the most important in football and life is about taking risk.
“You have a clear idea it is going to be good for you and you are going to move forward and it is going to be a big boost – the decision we can now tell everyone was right but the moment we took the decision people were critical of us.
“That is why we cannot forget the past, of course we need to understand the people when they are not inside and it is so easy to give an opinion but in the end you must believe in the decision. We can feel proud about our players our fans, the coaching staff and other staff in the club. I think Tottenham is doing a fantastic job.
“We are in the situation that we are today because we deserve to be there, because we are working so hard. Yes we feel so proud and now we need to be sure we continue in the same way always improving.”
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