By 90Min
June 01, 2019

From Madrid - How many times can you recover from a slow start?

In a Champions League final, there isn't a second leg to bail you out. There isn't a chance to go away and regroup. 85 minutes is all you have to recover.

As a Tottenham fan like everyone else, I've arrived at point where I have set a level of expectation which is meant to make me impervious to the damage the inevitable slow start and drama brings.

I know Spurs won't do it the simple way, they never do. However, maybe because of the occasion, in some weird dream like trance two minutes before kick-off, I thought maybe just this time we would start with some composure. 

This is Tottenham though, and that is never, ever the case. Maybe just a quarter of an hour of trying to settle the nerves perhaps? Nah, forget it pal. Nothing but drama from the off. Bosh. Penalty. Sissoko handball. Salah thumps it. 1-0.

Spurs grew into the game. I know, annoying as f*ck that it took a penalty in the second minute in order for that to become the case, but it did.

Matthias Hangst/GettyImages

It felt like Spurs suddenly realised they were in a Champions League final. Like a boxer that suffered an early knockdown needing to rally and raise their defences, Spurs reorganised. They restructured and took hold of the game for 15 minutes. 

Then as everything calmed down, the game settled into a cagey game between two good sides and that's the way it stayed until the end of the first half.

So then....half time. Spurs having had most of the ball, Liverpool all of the chances. What now? Pochettino and Klopp both needing to do something to combat the other. Pochettino has got it right every single game in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Unfortunately, on this occasion he was coming up against potentially the best defence in Europe.

He threw everything at he had at his relatively thin disposal. Llorente, Lucas both on. At one point playing with so little at the back it felt like if Liverpool really had looked to push on they might well have been out of sight. 

But for all the huffing and puffing, Liverpool's house stayed very much in tact.


Liverpool played a wonderfully compact second half and once Spurs got to a point where they had to roll the dice, they were eventually undone by the fact they had too much attacking talent on the pitch to defend a routine corner. 

A half clearance, a lovely touch by Matip and Origi applied the finishing touch. Curtains. 

Full time... Spurs 0-2 Liverpool.

No, now is not the time for a post mortem. Now is not the time to go into transfer dealings. Now is not the time to talk about Pochettino's future. Now is probably not even the time to talk about the handball law. The most that i'm able to do right now is hurt a bit, and accept that a slow start in a Champions League final was, and is, the one slow start Spurs couldn't recover from. 

Time to sleep it off, and pray that this has given the Spurs squad the taste for it and that we can one day do it all again, albeit a bit differently.

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