By Philip O’Connor
(Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen said they threw tactics out the window and relied on grit and heart to come back from 3-0 down on aggregate to beat Ajax Amsterdam on away goals and reach the Champions League final on Wednesday.
Having lost the first leg in London 1-0, Tottenham got off to the worst possible start in Amsterdam by going 2-0 down on the night.
The second leg turned on its head after halftime, however, as Lucas Moura scored twice in quick succession before netting a stoppage-time effort to complete his hat-trick and make it 3-3 on aggregate.
“It was non-tactical performance, it was more of a fight, more of a heart performance, and that’s how we won it,” Danish playmaker Eriksen told BT Sport.
“It was a ridiculous game. We were really far down, we tried to fight back and we’re just lucky. I feel sorry for Ajax, they played a very good game against us.
“In the end we’re just lucky we scored. It’s a relief, because we’ve been fighting for this and I think it’s a dream for everyone to be in the Champions League final.”
The midfielder revealed that there was no great tactical change at halftime as Spurs simply rolled up their sleeves and went at Ajax in the second half.
“We weren’t able to look ourselves in the mirror if we (were to) go down three or four nil today – we had to fight back, there was no other option,” Eriksen said.
After Liverpool fought back from a 3-0 first-leg defeat to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate on Tuesday, the final will be an all-English affair.
Spurs defender Danny Rose said that he had taken inspiration from the Merseysiders.
“We saw Liverpool last night. It goes to show it’s not over until it’s over. Disappointed with the first leg, how we started and we started like that tonight. But after the break we came out,” Rose said.
“The gaffer mentioned Liverpool’s display at the hotel before the match — the gaffer doesn’t mind us losing but we have to lose the right way.”
Moura, however, was not prepared to let the match slip, and slotted the winner for Spurs deep in stoppage time.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a season. For him (Moura) to get us in the final, he’ll be a hero. I hope he gets a statue in England after this … I’m blown away, there’s really no words for it,” Eriksen said.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Toby Davis)