If life is one learning experience after another then we learnt something tonight that British clubs have been learning (or failing to learn) for decades. And I’m sorry for the stereotype but Spurs were undone by the depths of Italian cynicism.
The first half was still a game of football and Spurs were winning it and proving once again they could stand toe to toe with the very best. But already, all over the pitch, Spurs players were going over and in pain. Someone like Dier doesn’t go down and he certainly doesn’t stay there – he did tonight.
By the second half, for twenty minutes or so, Juve had decided to kill the spectacle and, out of this dead game, they scored two breakaway goals. I don’t how they happened – I don’t think the Spurs players knew, distracted and frankly hurting as they were. I’m sure neither goal was offside, or almost sure. And Spurs couldn’t quite undo the damage and the game ended and the European adventure ended. But, if it is about learning, then bring on next season – we’ll be readier to meet the challenge.
I was proud of our club, our players, our manager and the passion of our fans.
Lloris – 5
No chance with the first, the second was hard too, but he couldn’t save us tonight.
Sanchez – 8
He was immense tonight, athletic and intelligent
Vertonghen – 6
Gave away what looked like a penalty and then what was a booking, subsequently, his usual self.
Trippier – 8
Trips played some wonderful passes tonight, provided width especially late on when we needed him. Permitted no threat down his flank.
Davies – 7
Had by far the tougher assignment on his flank, particularly with their no.11. Managed it increasingly well as the game went on, though the first goal came from some sort of collapse in this area. He has such a great left foot, I hoped he might provide the telling cross in the final minutes.
Dier – 7
In many ways, it was a night for him – a battle – and naturally enough he didn’t shirk the responsibility. When we needed to find something more progressive, he was equally naturally the man to be sacrificed.
Dembele – 8
For almost all of the game we dominated and The Moose was particularly immense. He can wrest the ball from completely impossible scenarios. Like Dier, perhaps, he doesn’t offer to open up teams in the final third – but that’s maybe not his job.
Eriksen – 6
Another fine linking performance but without finding the magic we need him to to open up the opportunities. It’s been a year when his dead ball work has been disappointing.
Dele – 7
A stronger performance. One of the many victims, as he inevitably was bound to be, and substituted, hobbling. But prior to that, he showed he could retain possession, run at players, pass and create opportunities
Son – 8
Difficult to give these players a single rating. Brilliant in the first half, an attacking tyro, just perhaps without his shooting boots, other than for the goal. By the second half, hacked to the turf one too many times, once when the ball was forty yards away, he seemed, like many, somewhat lost.
Kane – 7
One stunning, extraordinarily powerful run into the box, and all through the first half, tremendous in his link up play. As the game wore on, it seemed even the talisman would be unlikely to save us. He will be pleased to get on the score sheet again soon.
Lamela provided energy and purposeful running without ever quite looking like he had the answer Poch clearly hoped for. With limited opportunity, Llorente, who knew more than anyone what he was up against, was finally given crosses from which he could create second ball chances.
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