Football

Let Mauricio Pochettino splash the cash, says Rio Ferdinand

BT Sport pundit lauds Spurs boss, who has led London side to their biggest match

Hand Mauricio Pochettino a transfer warchest.

That's what Rio Ferdinand is telling Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy, after the Argentine tactician took the London side to the Champions League final against all odds.

At half-time of their semi-final, second leg yesterday morning (Singapore time), Spurs looked down and out with Ajax Amsterdam - already 1-0 up after the first leg - leading 2-0 thanks to goals by Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech.

But Tottenham, once mocked by rival fans for being soft-centred, showed immense spirit and overturned the deficit in the second half, with Lucas Moura scoring a hat-trick to set up an all-English final against Liverpool on June 1.

The Brazilian forward's injury-time strike, which helped Spurs pip Ajax on away goals, sent the away fans into delirium and Pochettino into floods of tears.

Few managers have had to deal with what Pochettino has this season - from being the only European club to make no signings in consecutive transfer windows to playing home games at Wembley because of delays in the completion of the club's new stadium.

Ferdinand said on BT Sport: "He can go to Daniel Levy now and say, 'listen, the last player I bought was Lucas Moura and look what he's done tonight'.

"Those players were a representation of their manager, all heart. They've been fantastic, a great advert for pure football but this game can be cruel.

"There'll be times when this situation happens and it's about how to pick yourself up from here."

Pochettino said on the eve of the Ajax second leg that it would be a miracle if Tottenham won the Champions League and that he might decide to do something else if they pulled it off.

Tottenham fans will hope he was only joking but, if Spurs do upset the odds again in Madrid and Pochettino does depart, he would do so ranked up alongside Bill Nicholson on the club's list of all-time managerial greats.

"I think it's one of the most important nights in my life," said an emotional Pochettino, who joined Tottenham in 2014 and is on the verge of sealing a fourth successive top-four finish in the EPL.

"I think (the players) are super heroes now. To get the club to the final of the Champions League I think is very close to a miracle. No one believed in us from the start of the season."

To get to where they are, Pochettino had to milk every ounce of value from his squad.

Even captain Harry Kane, who missed the match because of an ankle injury, played his part with a half-time pep talk, said defender Kieran Trippier.

Whatever Kane said, it clearly worked, reported Reuters.

"It was a disappointing first half and we let them play. I went into the dressing room at half-time and we knew it wasn't good enough," said Kane, who hurt his ankle in last month's quarter-final, first leg against Manchester City.

"We said we had 45 minutes to give everything... The lads dug deep and showed passion and that is all you can ask for... I'm just speechless."

Kane, who sprinted onto the pitch to celebrate with his teammates at the final whistle, could possibly return for the biggest game in the club's history.

"Rehab is going well. I start straight-line running this week, which is why I was OK to run on at the end," he said.

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