Tottenham Hotspur’s journey to the 2019 Champions League Final in Madrid was nothing short of incredible.
Their campaign was somewhat of a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, from almost being knocked out in the group stage to being – what most thought – dead and buried in the semi-final.
A combination of fantastic play, great fortune and pure miracles were what guided the club to their first Champions League Final. They didn’t lift the trophy, but with a stronger squad now and an invaluable experience under their belts, this group of players can go one better and lift Europe’s elite prize.
Spurs will no longer be looked at as complete outsiders by the rest of Europe’s top clubs. Although there are several teams who are probably more favourable choices to win the competition, Pochettino’s men showed last season how dangerous they can be, and how hard they can fight, even in extremely difficult circumstances.
After three group games last season, Spurs had just a 15% chance of progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League (BBC Sport). Yet Tottenham still found a way after miracle man Lucas Moura equalised at Camp Nou to send Spurs through by the barest of margins. It was Lucas again who produced when Spurs were 3-0 down on aggregate in the semi-final against Ajax with 45 minutes left, scoring a memorable hat-trick to bring Pochettino to his knees. This team have proven that they can produce the magic required to reach the final. But can lightning strike twice?
In my view, Spurs will surely not get the good fortune that they had in the last campaign, particularly when VAR helped them through their quarter-final tie with Manchester City. However, the squad is without a doubt stronger than last season.
Tanguy Ndombele impressed for Lyon last season in the Champions League, and his presence will immediately improve Spurs, along with Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon when they are fully fit.
Pochettino will look to progress through the group more emphatically this time around, before facing much tougher tests in the knockout rounds. Spurs passed the toughest of tests last season and lived a fairytale. But maybe that was only the beginning. Maybe the rest of that fairytale is yet to be written.
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