Pochettino marvels at Tottenham's domination of Juventus in draw
TURIN, Italy -- Mauricio Pochettino says few teams could have dominated Juventus like Tottenham did in Tuesday's Champions League round-of-16 first leg.
Spurs suffered a nightmare start in Turin -- trailing 2-0 to Gonzalo Higuain's double inside seven minutes -- but they hit back through Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen to finish with a 2-2 draw, although Higuain missed a penalty at 2-1.
The visitors have only ever reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League, while Juventus have lost two finals in the last three seasons, but Spurs finished the match with more shots and possession than the Italians.
"We didn't start well but we scored twice against a team with so much experience. It's never an easy job. We dominated the possession, we dominated Juventus and we forced them to play deeper," Pochettino told a postmatch news conference.
"They only used the counter-attack to try to create chances. I feel the team was so focused. Only seven minutes and it was difficult to handle these seven minutes, but for 83 minutes we dominated Juventus and that is a thing to praise because not many teams can come here and dominate a team like this."
Told that Spurs had finished with close to 70 percent possession, an almost unprecedented figure for the away team at the Allianz Stadium, Pochettino said: "That shows how good we were.
"The energy was fantastic. Because it's important to say that we played with one day less. We played on Saturday and Juventus played on Friday. One day in this type of competition is a lot.
"We arrived here after playing [Manchester] United, Liverpool and Arsenal with the derby on Saturday. Derby day is always emotional, you spend more energy. Today only I can praise the team.
"The energy was amazing and big congratulations to the players because the performance was fantastic but the energy was amazing. Because 2-0 down in this situation always you need more energy to try to do the same."
Before the game, Pochettino said his young team could not be compared to Juventus, given the Old Lady's domestic and European pedigree, but he admitted his players had showed great maturity to come back from 2-0 down.
"We were talking in the last few weeks that the team is more mature," he said. "I think we have experience, but not the kind of experience of Juventus in playing in this competition. It's true that we started the game not in a good way, but that showed that we are mature enough to compete in the Champions League.
"The team showed great character and the good thing is that this is our fourth season and always we are improving in different aspects. This aspect was the last and it is necessary to try to be competitive and in the end fight for big things.
"We conceded the penalty and 2-0 down after seven minutes, against a great team like Juventus, with a lot of experienced players too. That was the start of another game. In that moment I think we feel more freedom. OK nothing to lose and the team started to replicate the performances we've shown in the last few weeks.
"When I talk about the game I feel so proud. We showed great character against a team that in the last three years played two finals, with amazing experience on the pitch.
"We are a young team playing this competition. To show that performance tonight is a thing to be proud. I want to congratulate the players because they were fantastic."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.