Giorgio Chiellini: ‘It’s the history of Tottenham’
Juve war horse inspired his side past Spurs and into quarters
Giorgio Chiellini celebrates Juve’s win at Wembley. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
Giorgio Chiellini watched Juventus destroy Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League dream with a devastating one-two punch and said the London club lacked the mental toughness to win matches at this most rarefied level. Spurs were 1-0 up at Wembley for a 3-2 aggregate lead in the last 16 – thanks to Son Heung-min’s 39th-minute goal. They were in control. But Juventus sparked shortly after the hour to floor them with Gonzalo Higuaín and Paulo Dybala goals inside three minutes. Chiellini argued that Juventus’s triumph was built on their superior knowhow.
“It’s the history of Tottenham,” he said. “They always create many chances and score so much but, in the end, they miss always something to arrive at the end. We believe in history. Also yesterday in the game between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain [which Real won] – the history it’s important and the experience is important.”
Juventus have their sights on a third Champions League final in four seasons. “Four years ago, we did not have this experience but we have grown up year by year,” Chiellini said. “We believe until the end. We earned our luck. Tottenham had their chances and are a fine team but they’re on the verge of being able to win this type of game. Sometimes, you need that spark, maybe a trophy win. We had our experience and we made the most of it.”
Chiellini’s assertions were disputed by Mauricio Pochettino. Spurs’ manager said his team had “dominated”, particularly in terms of chances created. Harry Kane was denied a stoppage-time equaliser by the inside of a post.
“The defeat was not down to a lack of experience or a lack of concentration,” Pochettino said. “How many chances did we concede in two legs? Today, Juventus had three chances and they scored twice. We created many chances and scored one. We can talk about the reasons but the reality is they create three chances and score twice and we create many and score once.
“I feel very proud. In the two games, we were much better. But at this level in three minutes the tie turned for Juventus. We conceded two goals – two big mistakes – and that is why we are out. It is clear we deserved a lot more. Cut these three minutes and you praise the players a lot. It was a little bit unfair.”
Massimiliano Allegri, the Juventus manager, saw the game turn after he introduced Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner, and tweaked his formation. “The changes made a difference and I felt there had a been a dip in the physicality of the Spurs players,” Allegri said. “We are used to these games. We are part of the history of this competition.”