Wednesday 22 May 2019

Full range of emotions on display as Poch and Pep hail 'heroes' and 'incredible' players after epic tie

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: Pep Guardiola manager of Manchester City looks dejected in front of the match officials and Mauricio Pochettino manager / head coach of Tottenham Hotspur as a goal is ruled out via a VAR decision during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at at Etihad Stadium on April 17, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: Pep Guardiola manager of Manchester City looks dejected in front of the match officials and Mauricio Pochettino manager / head coach of Tottenham Hotspur as a goal is ruled out via a VAR decision during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at at Etihad Stadium on April 17, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino declared his players were 'heroes', as they secured a dramatic away goals win against Manchester City in a Champions League quarter-final tie that ended 4-4 on aggregate.

Pochettino feared his side's heroic effort over quadruple chasing City would end in agony as Raheem Sterling appeared to have snatched a last-minute winner for the home side at the Etihad Stadium, but a VAR decision ruled out the goal and the Spurs celebrations began moments later.

It means Tottenham are in the semi-finals of Europe's elite competition for the first time since 1962, with Pochettino's calming his emotions for post-match interviews after some joyous scenes on the pitch after the final whistle.

"It was unbelievable the way it finished. I am so happy, so proud," said Pochettino. "My players are heroes to be here. I am so happy for them, so happy for the fans.

"In a moment many things happened in your head, the disappointment was massive but they changed the decision. That is why we love football. We feel the passion and in this game, anything can happen.

"You have to have the believe and today we showed great character and great personality. To score three goals against Manchester City is not easy and this was an unbelievable game."

Deflated Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admitted his side were devastated after they believed they had snatched an epic game with a last gasp Sterling goal, as he argued Tottenham's third from Fernando Llorente could have been ruled out for a handball.

"It was offside, but it was cruel," said Guardiola, as he reflected on the late Sterling strike. "The moment we celebrate and we are so close to the semi-finals. It is what it is.

"I watched the action and the people from above decided it was offside. We missed a penalty in the first leg but I am so proud of the players and the fans. I have never heard noise like that since I have been in Manchester, but football is unpredictable.

"In first 20 minutes it was 3-2 it is not normal. The first half was good. In the second we created a lot of chances. Spurs are a strong team so it was quite equal. Unfortunately we are not at the next stage.

"We have a lot of games from the league and FA Cup final. Today is tough and tomorrow will be tough too but the day after we will be ready.

"We missed a penalty in the first leg, we created a lot of chances against a tough team. We made a mistake for the first two goals, but we were honest in the way we played. We tried until the end. What we've done in these two seasons is incredible."

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