Harry Winks has revealed what Mauricio Pochettino said at half-time to inspire his Tottenham Hotspur team to thrash Borussia Dortmund.
Spurs ran out 3-0 winners in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie, with all three goals scored in the second half.
Spurs took a huge step towards qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday, as they ran Dortmund ragged in a breathless second-half at Wembley.
Son Heung-Min opened the scoring with a deft volley after a superb Jan Vertonghen cross, before the defender got on the scoresheet himself, also firing a volley into the back of the net, and Fernando Llorente capped a superb performance with a clever header after coming off the bench.
The result was perhaps all the more surprising given Spurs’ relatively poor first-half display and Winks has revealed that Pochettino sent out a motivational message to his players to inspire their excellent second 45 minutes.
Football.London quote him as saying: “It was a fantastic performance. The manager said to us to be more aggressive and go out there and to get in them and not let them settle.
“That’s exactly what we did and it worked for us.
Check out Neymar’s controversial new haircut for 2019 and Xherdan Shaqiri as you’ve never seen him before in the video below…
“To get the goal so early on was key for us. It really set the standard in the second half for what we wanted to do.”
Winks also says that Pochettino eschewed the chance to criticise his team, who were indebted to an excellent save from Hugo Lloris at the end of the first half.
“No, not at all,” he said. “The manager just said to us we are still in the game.
“We had a spell when we were under the cosh a bit, but the most important thing is we defended well and Hugo made a fantastic save.
“It gave us a great platform in the second half to go out there and improve, that’s exactly what we did. The manager told us what he thinks we needed to do tactically to get on top and it worked.
“To get the goal so early on was critical.”
There is little point in being passive when it comes to top-level football.
Spurs took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and reaped the rewards.
With Pochettino’s words still ringing in their ears, Spurs hit the front just two minutes after the restart and it appeared a formality from there.
Of course, the second leg is still to be played and Pochettino’s men are not yet through.
But the manager has the tactical and motivational skills to ensure that Spurs do not suffer a collapse in Germany, and instead qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time under his reign.