Moussa Sissoko suggested Tottenham were guilty of being “intimidated” by Ajax and feels overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit to reach the Champions League final would now be “even more beautiful”.
Ajax, who eliminated Real Madrid and Juventus in the previous two rounds, took a huge step towards reaching the decider in Madrid after Donny van de Beek found the net in London, where the Dutch club dominated proceedings early on and were perhaps unfortunate not to score more.
It took midfielder Sissoko’s introduction from the bench and a tactical rejig just after the hour-mark for the tide to turn, with the France international brought on after Jan Vertonghen was unable to continue following a blow to the nose.
Spurs still have it all to do in the return leg in Amsterdam next week, though, and Sissoko thinks Mauricio Pochettino’s team may have been overawed in the club’s first semi-final in Europe’s premier club competition in over half a century.
“The start of the match was not good on our part, we were perhaps intimidated by the challenge,” he told RMC Sport.
“We did not play our football. I tried to bring back the impact, in the second half it was better, we could have done better, it’s a shame to lose this match but there is a second leg.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 30, 2019
“The first thing in football is the impact – especially in this kind of match. This is only the first round.”
Ajax lost the first leg in their last-16 tie against Madrid and travelled to Turin having drawn the opening encounter against Juve in the quarter-finals.
They won both of their return fixtures and, with that in mind, Sissoko feels Tottenham now reaching the final for the first time in their history would be even sweeter.
“We knew what this team was capable of – we saw it against Real Madrid and Juve, there is a lot of carefreeness and serenity in this team,” he added.
“If we get the qualification there, it will be even more beautiful.”
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