Mauricio Pochettino admitted Tottenham paid the price for “two big mistakes” as Juventus staged a stunning fight back to reach the Champions League quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate on Wednesday.
Juventus were on the brink of elimination after Son Heung-Min’s first-half strike put Tottenham ahead in the last 16, second leg at Wembley.
But, despite being completely outplayed in the opening period, Juventus buckled down after the break and equalised through Gonzalo Higuain.
That was the decisive moment as Tottenham suddenly went to pieces, allowing the Italian champions to score again two minutes and 49 seconds later as Paulo Dybala punished poor defending with a cool finish.
Crashing out after having the tie in their hands with a 2-1 loss on the night was a bitter pill for Tottenham to swallow and once again raised questions about their ability to win major trophies.
Although Pochettino claimed Tottenham deserved to win after dominating for so long, the Argentine coach conceded his side shot themselves in the foot with their defensive blunders.
“In less than three minutes we conceded two goals – two big mistakes – and that is why we are out,” he said.
“In both legs we deserved more. I feel proud. We played fantastic football until that first goal and we dominated.
“But in football it is not about deserving, you have to score goals and not concede.
“Of course we are very disappointed but it is part of growing. We will keep going.”
It was an epic escape act from Juventus, who remain on course to reach a third Champions League final in four seasons after twice finishing as runners-up.
The two-time European champions have enjoyed some memorable moments in the competition, but coming back from the brink against such in-form opposition will rank as one of their finest hours.
Tottenham were in control early on and Harry Kane fed Son, whose low strike was repelled by Gianluigi Buffon.
Despite a torrid opening, Juventus felt they should have had a penalty when Douglas Costa surged away from Jan Vertonghen.
But when Vertonghen’s challenge sent the Juventus winger crashing to the turf, referee Szymon Marciniak controversially waved play on.
Still seething over that decision, Juventus were ragged at the back when Son forced Buffon to palm out his header from Kieran Trippier’s cross.
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