The real Tottenham show up and destiny suggests they will win the whole thing
PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:10 09 May 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Mauricio Pochettino’s superheroes add another chapter to one of the most remarkable stories in recent years
Spurs supporters will never forget this season no matter what happens on June 1 when Tottenham Hotspur do battle with Liverpool in the final of the Champions League.
The fact Mauricio Pochettino's team qualified from the group was a minor miracle and yet they are now one match away from winning the biggest prize in club football.
Certain adjectives can be overused in this wonderfully emotional sport, but this night for the Lilywhites in Amsterdam is everything it's being described as.
It was unbelievable, extraordinary and breathtaking all rolled into one and at full time it was bedlam for Spurs fans everywhere in the world.
Make no doubt about it, this is a phenomenal achievement by this manager, the players and the club.
Ajax were the fairytale story in the eyes of many and they are a truly wonderful young team, but Tottenham deserve this and dispelled a tag which has haunted them for too long.
Destiny and fate are often talked about in sport and surely the most pessimistic of Spurs fans are now daring to dream.
How many times have Pochettino's team been written off in this season's tournament? After three group games they were all but out.
One point after three games and even at home to PSV in matchday four the journey seemed over before it had really begun.
Harry Kane was the first hero with two goals, Christian Eriksen was the next to down Inter Milan and keep alive Tottenham's faint hopes of reaching the knock-out phase.
In Barcelona the current man of the hour Lucas Moura had his first real moment in this season's competition with a late leveller at the Camp Nou.
Typical of Spurs, they still had to rely on PSV drawing at Inter Milan to progress, but once that happened; the great escape had been completed.
At this point, Pochettino's Tottenham had started to shake off the 'bottlers' tag, but so much more was to come.
You forget it now, but drawn against Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16, Spurs were the underdogs and especially without Harry Kane for the first leg.
Jan Vertonghen had to play at left-back too, and he inspired a stunning 3-0 victory, with help from Heung-min Son, to shock the Bundesliga side, who had only lost two games all season before travelling to London.
Next up was Manchester City - Pep Guardiola's quadruple-chasing team - and once more Tottenham were given very little hope.
Even after an electric evening in N17 when the Lilywhites claimed a 1-0 win, surely the Citizens would progress in the end? No, despite Spurs being without Kane, Harry Winks and then Moussa Sissoko for the second half.
Pochettino's side ended with Victor Wanyama and Fernando Llorente on the pitch - the pair hardly featured last season - and somehow they progressed again.
The tag 'Spursy' should have been ditched completely at that point, but it was back in all its glory at the end of last month.
A 1-0 defeat to Ajax in the first leg appeared to signal the end of this team's journey and it looked like they would drop out of the top-four too.
But context is a big thing often forgotten in football and the context of the situation is half this squad made it to the last four of the World Cup, virtually everyone has been injured at some point this season and Tottenham's last signing was Moura in January 2018.
Pochettino is the equivalent of a Dad handed the tomato ketchup bottle knowing all that is left is a sliver of sauce.
That doesn't matter to everyone watching, they still want ketchup and even though it seems like there is nothing left, he somehow finds a way to eke out more.
He has got every last drop out of this squad and that is why he is one of the greatest managers in the club's history.
Even the legendary Bill Nicholson couldn't lead Tottenham into a European Cup final despite going ever so close in 1962.
Yet Pochettino has and he did so without Kane for both legs against Ajax and with no Vertonghen or Moussa Sissoko for half of the in the first leg.
Winks didn't play a minute in the semi-finals, Davinson Sanchez missed the second leg and other key squad players Serge Aurier and Erik Lamela have been absent for lengthy periods of time.
All of this doesn't even mention how Tottenham were three goals down on aggregate with only 45 minutes left in the Johan Cryuff Arena.
It was surely over now, this remarkable adventure in the Champions League, but once again Spurs found the answers.
They didn't bottle it, they used all the experience they have gained over the last five years and kept going until he end.
All the players have talked about belief throughout this tournament and that is down to Pochettino and his staff drilling it into them.
Moura's first two goal gave them a chance, with the introduction of Llorente for Wanyama at half time - dropping Eriksen deeper in the process - another tactical masterstroke by the Spurs boss after his intervention in the 30th minute during the first leg.
Tottenham continued to believe even when the Spaniard headed over and Vertonghen was denied on two occasions late on.
Ajax supporters produced thunderous noise from the stands, but with the Lilywhites faithful up in the gods still in fine voice too, the big moment finally arrived in the 96th minute in Amsterdam.
Llorente's role was vital, Dele Alli's flick was perfect and Moura's attacking instincts at the most telling of times delayed the epilogue to this season's story.
Tottenham always do it the hard way, but that is their history. Not being 'Spursy' but winning with a flourish and with style and sometimes losing with an element of glory.
Nicholson won the European Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Cup at White Hart Lane, Keith Burkinshaw won the UEFA Cup too and why can't Pochettino's team now win the Champions League on June 1? Many will say they won't, destiny suggests they will.
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