Pochettino aims to ‘write history’ in Champions League final
Boss looks ahead to Liverpool clash as Spurs are held by Everton on final day of the Premier League season
12 May, 2019 — By Dan Carrier at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
SPURS 2 (Dier 3, Eriksen 75)
EVERTON 2 (Walcott 69, Tosun 72)
SPURS sealed a top-four finish as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Everton in the last Premier League game of the season.
Spurs needed to better Chelsea’s result against Leicester but could not get their noses back in front after taking an early lead through Eric Dier. They were then pegged back by two Everton goals in three second-half minutes. An equaliser was conjured up by the right boot of Christian Eriksen, who struck a delightful free kick on 75 – but with the legs still weary after Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final exertions, it was hardly surprising that there wasn’t the required oomph left in the tank to grab a winner.
Speaking after the game, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said the team would have two days off and be back in on Wednesday to start preparing for the biggest game in the club’s history on June 1, when they meet Liverpool in the Champions League final.
He said: “We have our plan. The next three weeks will not be like a pre-season, but it also will be no holiday. We have a clear idea of how we will work and it is important to use our common sense. We will arrive in the best condition to try and win the final. We will focus and try to put our energy into helping the players arrive in the best condition.”
He added that Jan Vertonghen, who left the Ajax stadium with a leg wrapped in a protective boot and did not make the squad today, should be fit. He was seen walking without any aids on the pitchside lap of honour at the end – and Pochettino said he hoped to have a full squad to choose from, raising hopes again that Harry Kane would also be available.
Pochettino added: “Jan was down to miss the last game of the season, but there is time for him to come back. We hope to have all the squad available, but we are a team, and whoever plays, there will be 11 on the pitch. We need to write history.”
With the fans still buzzing from the extraordinary game on Wednesday, there was a party atmosphere from the off – and it took Tottenham just three minutes to open their account. An Erik Lamela corner was swung in and, with two Everton defenders getting themselves into a pickle as they both rose for it, the ball dropped on the six-yard line where Eric Dier reacted quickest to smash home.
Spurs looked dangerous whenever they settled enough to get forward, with Lucas Moura’s pace always a threat and rookie right-back Kyle Walker Peters enjoying freedom. But Everton also have some danger about them – Cenk Tosun, Theo Walcott and Michael Keane all had opportunitites in the first half to test Hugo Lloris.
And it was Walcott who brought the visitors level on 69 when Spurs were sloppy in getting to the ball in midfield and Everton substitute Ademola Lookman created space for Walcott on the right. He slotted home. Three minutes later and Everton were in the lead: a horrible goalmouth scramble saw the ball turned home from a foot out by Tosun.
The lead did not last long. The busy Lamela went for a run at the Everton defence, and was hooked down as he approached the penalty box. Eriksen stepped up and carefully guided his shot around the Everton wall and into Jordan Pickford’s far corner to equalise.
The tired legs from Wednesday showed as the game ticked down. Tottenham’s midfield had difficulty imposing themselves and Everton looked as likely as Spurs to grab the winner. Vincent Janssen came on to try and spark something and can’t be faulted for his effort – but it was not to be.
Spurs finish fourth, a point behind Chelsea, but still have the the small matter of the Champions League final to look forward to in three weeks’ time.
Spurs: Lloris, Alderweireld, Lamela (Skipp 76), Dier, Walker-Peters, Sissoko, Llorente (Janssen 76), Ali (Wanyama h/t), Eriksen, Moura, Davies.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Trippier, Janssen, Wanyama, Aurier, Marsh, Skipp.
Everton: Pickford, Keane, Zouma, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Digne, Mina, Tosun, Gueye (Gomes, 64), Schneiderlin, Bernard (Lookman, 65).
Subs: Stekelenburg, Baines, Jagielka, Davies, Kenny.