New Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho saw his new side pick up a debut victory over West Ham United last weekend, but Tuesday evening was an opportunity for him to get his new Spurs chapter up and running on home soil as we welcomed Olympiakos to White Hart Lane for the Champions League encounter.
Sadly for us, we started how we ended the West Ham clash and fell two goals behind within the opening 20 minutes. Dele Alli did reduce the deficit in first half stoppage time but whatever was said at the break did the trick.
Five minutes after the restart Harry Kane had restored parity and we didn’t really look back (although it wasn’t that comfortable). Serge Aurier gave is the advantage in the 73rd minute, and Kane completed his brace in the 77th to book our qualification with a 4-2 win.
Spirit, heart, a response – but start a game like that against better sides and, well, gulp.
Speaking to the BBC following the Group B clash, our Portuguese gaffer said of the performance.
“The first thing I want to say publicly is what I did in the dressing room is to apologise to Eric Dier. It is never easy for a player but not for the coaching staff either. It was for the team and we needed a different solution. We were losing 2-0, they were closing really well and I needed a second man with Dele Alli to come into the pockets. It was between Dier and Harry Winks but a hard decision. They understand, Eric understands but the reality it is never easy and to make it clear, it was about the team not individuals. I thought about taking out one of the centre-backs and putting Eric in defence. We have qualified for the next round, that is the important thing for all of us at the club and the fans. It was hard, they are a good team, very well organised and they attacked our self esteem and self confidence. I did not expect our boys to feel this pressure at home and they have not had the best results in the last few months. It was a tough time, more than the changes or the tactical talk, I told them to keep calm, keep confident and believe in ourselves.”