Football: Prove you can win trophies, says Pochettino to Spurs

Top: Tottenham's Dele Alli getting to the ball first for Tottenham to open accounts against Real Madrid in their Champions League match at Wembley on Wednesday night. Above: The expressions on the faces of Real's Toni Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo duri
Tottenham's Dele Alli getting to the ball first for Tottenham to open accounts against Real Madrid in their Champions League match at Wembley on Wednesday night. PHOTOS: EPA-EFE
Top: Tottenham's Dele Alli getting to the ball first for Tottenham to open accounts against Real Madrid in their Champions League match at Wembley on Wednesday night. Above: The expressions on the faces of Real's Toni Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo duri
The expressions on the faces of Real's Toni Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo during the game say it all. But while Spurs have qualified comfortably for the competition's knockout phase, manager Mauricio Pochettino has challenged his players to take the club to "the next level".PHOTOS: EPA-EFE

Spurs boss urges team to chase the big prizes after 'most satisfying' 3-1 upset of Real Madrid

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino challenged his Tottenham Hotspur players to take the club to "the next level" and start winning trophies on the back of their 3-1 Champions League victory against holders Real Madrid.

The Argentinian described the result - which sealed their qualification to the round of 16 - as one of the most satisfying of his time at Spurs. But he also warned his players that the only way to be recognised as a great team would be to prove they could actually win the bigger competitions.

"This sort of win brings with it certain consequences in terms of making us more visible," he said.

"It's something everyone around Europe will have seen.

"We now belong not only among the best teams in England but in Europe, and results like this will show people where we are going.

"What's important for me is that we are in the next round.

HIGH PRAISE

Any team can win the Champions League and Tottenham are certainly one of them.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE, Real's coach, who admitted that his team were second best.

"We're starting to believe in our potential and our qualities.

"We're now able to compete with the biggest teams on a physical and mental level.

"Right now, we're very proud. But this means nothing if, at the end of the season, we haven't won a trophy."

Dele Alli scored a brace before Christian Eriksen notched Tottenham's third, with Cristiano Ronaldo's late strike no consolation for the visitors.

The vibrant performance will go down as one of Tottenham's greatest days, joining the Gareth Bale-inspired rout of Inter Milan in 2010, Ricky Villa's FA Cup-winning heroics in 1981 and Paul Gascoigne's 1991 Wembley masterclass against Arsenal in the club's pantheon of iconic moments.

The defeat for Real left manager Zinedine Zidane facing tough questions at a time when his side are eight points behind leaders Barcelona in LaLiga.

However, the French manager said he was "not worried" by how his team had played and said it would be fairer to praise Spurs.

"In all aspects of play, they (Spurs) were superior," he said after Madrid were dealt their first Champions League group-stage defeat in five years.

"Any team can win the Champions League and Tottenham are certainly one of them."

Ronaldo also played down talk of a crisis after the Spanish champions suffered their second straight loss following a shock defeat by Girona at the weekend.

The reversal at Wembley left Real second in Group H, three points behind Tottenham (10 points), who will seal top spot if they win one of their last two games away to Borussia Dortmund or at home to Apoel Nicosia.

Nevertheless, a win at Apoel later this month will do for 12-time champions Real to qualify after the Cypriot side held Dortmund 1-1 in Germany.

"What counts is what happens at the end, not what happens now," Ronaldo, who had never been on the losing side against Tottenham, including in 11 matches against the London club for Manchester United, told reporters.

"We're not in the best moment - we have to accept that and keep working. We could lose three, four, five games and I still wouldn't think there's a crisis.

"We're in a bad run and we want to change things."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2017, with the headline ''Prove you can win trophies''. Print Edition | Subscribe