Arteta delivers verdict on Arsenal's win over Tottenham
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Mauricio Pochettino brought Tottenham their best years since the early 1980s with his attacking, fearless style of play which stole the hearts of the entire Lilywhites’ support. However, according to defender Toby Alderweireld, things came to a halt as the ‘tank was empty’ following their Champions League defeat to Liverpool in 2019.
Spurs’ first ever European Cup final was reached in magnificent circumstances, as the north London outfit beat Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Ajax on their route to Madrid where they faced Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
After being 3-0 down on aggregate to Ajax with just the second half of their second-leg to go, Lucas Moura scored a fairytale hat-trick to send Spurs fans into delirium.
Many of their support believed that times could never be better as a Tottenham fan, and at the same time they marvelled at a squad they could be proud of.
Yet according to their long-serving defender Toby Alderweireld, this was the last bit of glee that Spurs would endure under the Argentine manager – after the defeat to Liverpool ’emptied the tank’.
Alderweireld, now 32, spent six illustrious seasons at Tottenham and established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.
But after moving to Qatari side Al-Duhail this summer, the Belgian has set the record straight and claimed that the disappointment in the squad was too much to take.
“The Champions League would have been the trophy for our golden generation,” Alderweireld told the Evening Standard.
“With the money we spent – almost nothing – and the way we played, it would have been an unbelievable achievement, especially if you saw the teams we beat.
“Afterwards the tank was empty. After a couple of seasons, it was one too many. When I look back now, we needed a bigger break to really have the desire to go again. The disappointment was too fresh.
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“I know for sure he loves Spurs, even to this day, and to achieve it with the club at the time would have been maybe the biggest achievement ever in Spurs’ history.
“So it’s logical. He needed time to refresh himself and get the desire to go again.”
Pochettino now manages Paris Saint-Germain, who missed out on the Champions League last season after a semi-final loss to Manchester City.
But Alderweireld has faith that his old boss will be victorious in the competition if his Spurs tenure is anything to go by.
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“The team was so close,” he continued.
“You get close because the Pochettino way is not the easy way. You work so hard every day, days off are very, very rare.
“You get the same as the army really. You get angry but you get fitter, you get better. You do it and it creates a group, like, ‘Let’s do it together’.
“So that was the feeling, especially in the seasons with Leicester, Chelsea, the Champions League.”
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