Juventus and former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has claimed that the vocal Tottenham Hotspur supporters sat near the away dugout on Wednesday evening "went missing" as Spurs' Champions League hopes faded away.
The Poland international was an unused substitute as the Italian giants broke Wembley hearts with two quick-fire second-half sucker punch finishes, but admitted to The Guardian he "enjoyed" watching on as his side progressed at the expense of an old rival.
Never underestimate the old guard. Last night Real Madrid, tonight Juventus showed there’s life in the Old Lady.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 7, 2018
“I enjoyed it a lot”, the 27-year-old said. “There were a couple [of Tottenham] fans – very vocal – next to my bench, who went missing after the 80th minute, so yeah, I enjoyed it. Plus winning at Wembley is always special.”
After Son Heung-min put Spurs ahead, both on the night and on aggregate, with a scuffed first-half strike, it looked as though Mauricio Pochettino's outfit were headed for their first Champions League quarter-final since 2011.
But the mental strength of Juventus shone through and proved just enough; as it has repeatedly done in recent years.
“We’ve got players who have won the World Cup”, Szczesny said. “They’ve won six league championships in a row and you see that makes a difference in the difficult situations. Where others crumble, we manage to get out on top.
“The players were relaxed throughout because we’ve been through it many times before. Even last weekend against Lazio we didn’t play the best of games and yet we stayed in it and in the 93rd minute, we scored the winner.
"That sort of belief right until the end gets you through games like Tottenham. The Tottenham people would probably say they were robbed, but we deserved it.”
As he was heading down the tunnel on full-time, Szczesny made the "chin-up" gesture to Spurs supporters and after the game uploaded a celebratory picture to Instagram as one final dig.
“Great win and celebrations vs one of the best teams in north London?” he wrote. “Forza Juve! #northlondonisred”, the social media post read.
However, despite still feeling a strong allegiance, when asked about Arsenal's current predicament, the custodian only offered a diplomatic response.
“I’m focused on my job at Juventus”, he added. “I still love Arsenal, I love the people and I wish them the best but to judge the situation is not appropriate.”