Mauricio Pochettino admitted Tottenham paid the price for “two big mistakes” as Juventus staged a stunning fightback 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.
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.
Having got their reward for bossing the game, Tottenham were nearly punished when Miralem Pjanic smashed just wide before half-time. So poor in the first half, Juventus showed more far desire and drive after the interval.
They nearly equalised when Argentine forward Dybala fired over after sloppy Tottenham defending gifted him a sight of goal. Tottenham were anxious and Juventus went for the kill three minutes later.
Higuain’s pass dissected Tottenham’s poorly-executed offside trap and Dybala ran through to drill a cool finish past Hugh Lloris.
Tottenham laid siege to the Juventus goal in the final stages, but the visitors defended heroically and rode their luck when Kane’s header hit a post before being scooped off the line by Barzagli.