By 90Min
October 19, 2017

The roar of the crowd and the delirious celebrations at the final whistle by the travelling Spurs supporters spoke volumes. 

In previous seasons, the prospect of getting a positive result at a ground like the Santiago Bernabéu, would have been completely overawing. But not for this team.

Gradually, Mauricio Pochettino has installed an inner confidence and belief that his current side has the character and ability to get a result at most grounds, including against great sides like Real Madrid.


Tottenham went in to last night's Champions League Group H battle missing key players through injury or suspension, but still came out unscathed, which makes their result even more impressive.

Pochettino deserves a lot of plaudits for his bravery by employing a new formation (5-3-2) to tackle the back-to-back Champions League holders on their own hallowed turf. Playing Fernando Llorente up front with Harry Kane was a masterstroke and it allowed the England striker to roam the pitch, at his leisure, picking up possession and starting attacks as well as trying to finish them.  

As the striker said himself: "It shows how far we have come as a team, it shows we can handle it at this level."

Harry Winks was another who stood up to the challenge at the Santiago Bernabeu and embraced the occasion. His performance in the face of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will only serve to enhance his growing reputation as an effective midfielder, ahead of England's World Cup campaign next summer. 

It feels wrong singling out individuals, as the beauty of Spurs at their best under Pochettino is that when they are at their best, they all contribute and become more than the sum of their parts. Having said that, without the heroics of Hugo Lloris, it could quite conceivably been another courageous defeat.

However, this is what makes the performance and result so encouraging. You would expect Real Madrid as defending champions, playing at home in front of 81,000 expectant supporters and undefeated in 29 Champions League group games to increase their urgency and throw everything at Spurs. Nevertheless, with all the visitos organisation and discipline, they just refused to buckle and stood toe to toe taking everything that Los Blancos could throw at them. 

As the game wore on, Spurs even began to impose themselves more and played their own game, keeping possession confidently and even exposing Real Madrid's own defensive frailties.

After the game, a proud Pochettino added: "Last season we could not compete at this level, this type of performance must help us to believe more, and to trust in ourselves. We're still a work in progress, but the gap between them and the finished article is not so big."

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

It will be interesting in a fortnight's time if Spurs can duplicate such a complete performance in front of a capacity crowd at Wembley Stadium for the return Group H fixture. 

However, based on last night, the team from north London represented its own supporters and the Premier League with distinction. It is fair to say, this squad have found their level and made their point.

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