Cristian Stellini has praised his players for staying level-headed and keeping calm despite coming under pressure in the first half against Marseille.

Tottenham needed just a point at the Stade Velodrome to progress into the knockout stages of the Champions League while Marseille needed all three points to do so.

Lucas Moura

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

So, unsurprisingly, it was Igor Tudor’s side who started the game on the front foot, with Spurs being content to get men behind the ball in the first half.

The home side opened the scoring just before half-time but, as has been the norm over recent weeks, Tottenham gave a much better account of themselves in the second period and quickly drew level.

With the home side pushing for a win, Spurs were able to get the matchwinner in a counter-attack in stoppage time to ensure they finished top of Group D.

Stellini admitted that Tottenham face difficulties in the first half but praised the players for not losing their heads and staying in the game.

The Tottenham assistant head coach told Football.London: “It was very difficult in the first half. In the difficulties, we didn’t lose our minds. We stayed in the match.

“It was terrible the goal we conceded because from a corner, they took it quickly, and we were not prepared. It is an important lesson for the future.

‘But in the second half, something changed, and we spoke in the dressing about the energy we need in the second half and the way we have to press them and counter the game.

“In the first half, we never used energy to press and create difficulties, and they controlled the game very well. In the second, this aspect changed, and we played a fantastic second half.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Given that we only needed a point, Conte was never going to set us up to play on the front foot. So, I expected us to approach the game the way we did in the first half. However, the strategy almost backfired and the Italian would have come in for plenty of criticism had Sead Kolasinac converted late on and knocked us out of the Champions League.

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