‘Surprised’ Pochettino denies Kane inspired Spurs to victory at Ajax

Mauricio Pochettino was taken aback by Kieran Trippier’s claims that Harry Kane had inspired their Champions League comeback win over Ajax.

With Spurs 3-0 down on aggregate at half-time in Amsterdam, injured forward Kane went into the dressing room and gave Pochettino’s side a “mental” pep-talk.

Lucas Moura then stepped up and scored a brilliant second-half treble to send Spurs through the final on away goals after finishing their semi-final tie with Ajax 3-3 on aggregate.

Later on, right-back Trippier hailed the impact of Kane’s words and the “extra lift” his presence gave the entire squad.

But Pochettino reckons Spurs captain Hugo Lloris was more worthy of praise for his role in their comeback.

“It surprised me,” said the Spurs boss, according to Fox Sports.

“Listen to Trippier – he didn’t say Harry was talking. It wasn’t a team talk [from Harry]. He was there like Davinson Sanchez or another player not involved.

“Trippier said ‘his presence’. Harry was there and translated confidence and of course emotion.

“But to be honest, I was talking. It wasn’t a moment to talk too much. And in the end who lifted them before they went on the pitch was our captain, Hugo Lloris.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – MAY 08: Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates victory with Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff Arena on May 08, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images )

“I remember the words of Hugo Lloris as I was leaving the dressing room. He was shouting, ‘We are close, we need to score one goal more, never give up and try because the moment we score we’re going to be in the tie’.”

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Despite such a heavy deficit during the interval at Ajax, Pochettino revealed he was “relaxed” over the situation.

“We give five minutes to the masseur, physio, doctor and sports science. When I arrived, I talked and showed some clips,” said Pochettino.

“I think it was the most relaxed half-time in the last six months. I explained to Danny Rose today. Danny asked me today, ‘Gaffer did you really believe at half-time we could achieve it?’ I said, ‘Yes, I was so relaxed’.

“He said, ‘Were you surprised?’ I said, ‘Yes’. I was so upset with destiny at this moment. Because the game was even.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – MAY 08: Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal with his team mates during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff Arena on May 08, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images )

“The difference was they were clinical in front of goal, we conceded and we didn’t score. We check everything – the possession, the metres we run, the attempts, the intensity.

“In five minutes we checked everything and then we need to explain to the players what we need to do in the second half. It was of course [Victor] Wanyama out, and Fernando [Llorente] in.”

Pochettino added: “We didn’t deserve to be 2-0 down. That’s why I said, ‘Keep going, be relaxed’. It wasn’t a team talk like Arsenal, when I nearly broke my hand and I needed to scream, and I needed to spark the players. Because the players were focused. It was a bit unfair.

“Harry was there, listening to us. Maybe Trippier loved Harry was there and for himself it translated a confidence.

“I promise our captain was very good, with the last word and before the game too, with the last word. It’s always our captain who talks after me. Hugo was brilliant.”

Ajax v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – MAY 08: Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates victory with his team after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff Arena on May 08, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images )

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