Pochettino: Battle of the bridge helped team mature

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tottenham will be looking to make it one step closer to the Carabao Cup final when they welcome Chelsea to Wembley later this evening.

The game is set to be a cracker with Spurs in great form and Chelsea seeking revenge for the 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Lillywhites in November.

Tottenham and Chelsea have played out some really entertaining and competitive games off late, none more noteworthy than the infamous ‘battle of the bridge’ in 2016. Tottenham went into that game needing a win to give themselves a shot of catching Leicester City and raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half.

However, Chelsea clawed their way back and managed to tie the game 2-2, thus ending Tottenham’s title hopes. The game is primarily remembered for the multiple brawls that erupted between the two sets of players throughout the ninety minutes including a major scuffle involving both benches after the final whistle.

When asked which fixture match against Chelsea he enjoyed the most, Pochettino surprisingly picked that match in 2016, saying he enjoyed the battle.

Speaking to Football.London as a part of his pre-match press conference, Pochettino said: “When you lose it’s impossible to enjoy. I enjoyed the draw when we lost the opportunity to be in the race for the title. It was a massive battle. We fought a lot between us and Chelsea. It was disappointing but it showed our character and how we feel.”

Many accused Tottenham of losing their heads in that game but Mauricio Pochettino insists that his team learned a lot from that experience.

Speaking about the game, the Argentine added: “I think always experience must help you to improve. We’re people that have the capacity to learn. If we’re not capable to learn, be sure it’s difficult to think about winning big things after. That experience must help us to be better, individually and collective, of course.”

When asked if Tottenham’s mentality as a team has changed since that night, the 46-year-old said, “Yes, I think yes. Football is about quality, yes, it’s about talent, yes but it’s [mainly] about mentality. It’s about being strong in your mind and to compete. It’s about energy, attitude.”

“If you match the opponent in motivation, attitude, and energy, of course, your quality is going to appear. We were very nice kids playing football and now we’re more mature, more competitive. We’ll see if that is enough to win titles. We grew a lot in the last few years and this game was important to learn a lot.”

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