Tottenham welcome Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to Wembley on Wednesday, and Mauricio Pochettino’s side are perfectly poised to ruffle a few feathers.
“It’s the history of Tottenham,” said Giorgio Chiellini shortly after his Juventus side broke north London hearts in the Champions League at Wembley last season.
“They always created many chances to score so much, but at the end they miss always something to arrive at the end.”
12 months later, and Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been forced to adapt after injuries to multiple key players, and they are now one of Europe’s most mentally strong teams.
Dortmund meanwhile have drawn their last three games in normal time (one was a cup fixture that they lost on penalties), and Spurs’ new-found mentality could well be the difference in this epic Champions League showdown.
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Confidence and form is everything in a Champions League knockout fixture, where a couple of quick goals can decide the tie in a matter of moments, and Tottenham couldn’t have asked for better timing on this one, of course barring a date that would allow Dele Alli and Harry Kane to take part.
The Lilywhites have won their last four league fixtures, all without Kane and three of those without Alli, and if not for Heung-min Son’s last-gasp goal against Leicester all of those games would have been decided by just one goal.
Pochettino’s side have the quality to win while playing beautiful football, but the injury crisis may actually have improved their chances in the Champions League, where the killer mentality they have now developed can go an awful long way.
In fact, one could argue what has separated Real Madrid from the rest of the contenders in recent years is their sheer belief that they will win every game they play.
While Dortmund were blowing a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Hoffenheim this weekend, Spurs were battling it out for another deserved three points, and Chiellini’s comments on the “history of Tottenham” are well and truly just that – history.