Madrid (AFP) – The silence at the final whistle lasted only a moment in that end of the stadium before Tottenham’s fans stood up to applaud.
Their immediate reaction had been disappointment, that Spurs had not played anywhere near to their potential or punished a Liverpool team that had also been subdued and strangely out of sorts.
But as the white shirts at the Metropolitano dropped to the ground and the red ones rushed together in celebration, regret became recognition of the feat that had been achieved.
“It’s so painful but at the same time we need to be calm in the way that we talk and analyse things,” Pochettino said. “Because the season was fantastic and we need to feel proud.”
When Pochettino said his players should aim higher than the domestic cups, insisting they should cherish only winning the Premier League or Champions League, many scoffed, believing him guilty even of arrogance. Spurs have not won a trophy of any kind since 2008.
In that sense, the wait goes on after Liverpool’s 2-0 victory in Madrid but Pochettino’s determination that Tottenham challenge for the game’s biggest prizes has been vindicated.
His mission to harden the mentality has also taken a step closer to completion.
Only a year ago, Liverpool were mourning defeat too in a Champions League final, to Real Madrid, having finished beneath Spurs, and 25 points adrift of Manchester City, in the Premier League table.
Yet in the immediate aftermath of the club’s sixth European Cup triumph on Saturday night, their players were still referring to that loss in Kiev, often unprompted, injecting it into the narrative to explain where this latest success began.
“Everything happens for a reason,” said Mohamed Salah. “When last year we lost the final, I think we were meant to come back and win it this time.”
Tottenham’s task to convert their exhilarating Champions League run into something similarly sustainable will be more difficult.
Three days after Loris Karius tossed the ball onto Karim Benzema’s right foot and let Gareth Bale’s shot squirm through his fingers, Liverpool were already announcing the signing of Fabinho for 50 million euros.
They soon upgraded Karius to Alisson Becker for another 72.5 million euros, with Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri taking the total spend to around 200 million euros for the summer.
“It can help us, of course,” said Lucas Moura about Tottenham’s run to the final. “Next season, we will be stronger, we will have more experience.”