Tottenham Hotspur
11:45 AM UTC
Game Details
AFC Bournemouth
11:45 AM UTC
Game Details
 By John Crace

Mauricio Pochettino's delayed adjustments hold Spurs back in loss

Two goals against the run of play within three minutes midway through the second half handed Juventus a 2-1 win -- 4-3 on aggregate -- to help the Italian champions past Tottenham and into the last eight of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Spurs had dominated the first 45 minutes and -- though fortunate not to concede a penalty -- had enough good chances to go into the break more than a single goal ahead.

In the end Tottenham's profligacy in front of goal -- combined with a little naivety, as they lost concentration at a crucial time -- cost them dearly, as Juventus scored twice on the break. Spurs pressed hard for the equaliser that would take the game into extra-time and came close in the dying minutes when a Harry Kane header hit the woodwork. By then it was too little, too late.

For Tottenham it was so near, yet so far.


Spurs can take some comfort from the fact that they dominated play for long periods of the game and showed they could compete with one of the most experienced clubs in European football. Now they must learn to be more ruthless in putting teams to bed.


To state the obvious, Spurs are out of a competition in which they should have comfortably progressed to the next round. At this level players can't afford to switch off and Spurs were guilty of doing so twice inside three minutes. It was as if the team was unsure whether to continue the pressing game that had served them so well in the first half or to sit back and try and see out the game. In the end they succeeded in doing neither.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- Mauricio Pochettino must take the lion's share of the blame for this defeat. He didn't appear to have an effective game plan for the second half and was far too slow to react to the Juventus substitutions and change in formation. Also, with Spurs needing to score for a second time to stay in the tie, Pochettino delayed making changes of his own. Hugo Llorente was only given 10 minutes and Lucas Moura, whose pace and direct running could have made a difference, was left on the bench.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 6 -- Though he could do little to prevent either Juventus goal, Lloris looked uncharacteristically nervy throughout. His distribution was poor and his anxiety transmitted itself to the back four.

DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- With Serge Aurier suspended, Trippier was deservedly recalled to the right-back slot and Spurs looked all the stronger for his presence. After a nervous start in which he gave the ball away, Trippier grew in confidence and it was his cross from which Son Heung-min scored. Faded somewhat in the second half.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 7 -- For most of the game Sanchez looked to have the Italian offence in his pocket, allowing them to win little in the air or on the ground. But he was caught out of position for Juventus' second goal -- a lapse of concentration he and the team will regret.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 7 -- Was extremely fortunate not to give away a penalty early on when his reckless challenge went unpunished. Thereafter he tightened up his game and the Juve offensive line were forced to feed on scraps down his flank.

DF Ben Davies, 7 -- Came into the game more in the second half as Spurs directed much of their attacking play down the left flank. Put in a number of telling crosses, including the one from which Kane hit the woodwork, but couldn't find the one to pry open the Juve defence.

MF Eric Dier, 7 -- Back in his preferred position of defensive midfielder ahead of the back four. Started slightly edgy, twice giving the ball away in his own half, but grew in confidence as the game progressed. Was sacrificed late on as Spurs went in search of an equaliser.

MF Mousa Dembele, 8 -- Once again, the Belgium international completely bossed the Juve midfield. Whenever he was in possession the Italians struggled to get the ball off him and he was at the heart of most of Spurs' best moves in both halves. Got frustrated towards the end and committed a couple of needless fouls that allowed Juve to wind down the clock..

Three subpar minutes was all it took for Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs side to be eliminated from the Champions League.

MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- Content to lie deep for much of the game and was too passive for long periods. When he did spark into life, Juve were always on the back foot and some of his passes were breathtaking. Spurs wanted a little more from Eriksen than he gave.

MF Son Heung-min, 8 -- Yet again, Spurs' man of the match. Gave the Italian defence a torrid time throughout and a less lenient referee might have sent off Andrea Barzagli for repeated fouls and stamping. Scored the opening goal with a scuffed shot, but could -- and perhaps should -- have added to his tally with clear chances in either half.

MF Dele Alli, 6 -- Made a few direct runs in the first half and produced some nice flicks. But he allowed himself to get riled by a defence intent on fouling him in the second half and consequently became a more peripheral figure.

FW Harry Kane, 7 -- Had two good chances at either end of the game, neither of which he could take. The first he fired into the side netting, the second he headed against the post. Otherwise he was closely marked by a defence that had the strength and experience to outmuscle him and was forced to feed off scraps.


MF Erik Lamela, NR -- Brought on late in the game to try and carve an opening. Made a couple of promising runs but his final ball was not good enough.

FW Fernando Llorente, NR -- Given a run out for the last 10 minutes but never made an impact in the time he was given.

John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.


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