Tottenham full-back Kieran Trippier revealed how Harry Kane’s “mental” pep-talk during half-time inspired them to victory over Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals.
Kane, who hopes to recover from his ankle injury in time for June’s final against Liverpool in Madrid, was in Amsterdam to cheer on his team-mates as they attempted to launch a comeback.
Come to the end of the opening 45 minutes, Spurs found themselves two goals down following Matthijs de Ligt’s header and Hakim Ziyech’s strike for Ajax. It left them with a 3-0 aggregate deficit and only another 45 minutes left to do something about it.
But a furious Kane went into the dressing room during half-time and urged his the squad to do better.
Afterwards, Lucas Moura scored a second-half treble to secure Spurs a spectacular 3-2 comeback victory in the Netherlands and a spot in the final on away goals after finishing 3-3 on aggregate.
“Harry’s exceptional for club and country,” said Trippier, according to Sky Sports.
“I don’t know the timescale with his injury but obviously we’re all hoping he can be back because of his presence, even here.
“At half-time, he came in and was going mental at us because we can do better, which we all knew, but this is what we need, the leadership he has.
“The way he came in at half-time and wasn’t happy, we all knew that.
“He just gives us that extra lift because his presence was massive for us.”
The Spurs-Liverpool final will be only the second time in history that there has been an all-English final.
The last time it occurred came in Moscow in 2008, where Manchester United and Chelsea faced off against each other.
Cristiano Ronaldo had given United a 26th-minute lead before Chelsea’s Frank Lampard equalised just before the break.
The two teams remained tied at 1-1 after extra-time, with United emerging victors in the end through a 6-5 penalty shoot-out victory.