Son Heung-Min, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembélé spoke to Tottenham’s official website and expressed mixed emotions after a loss at Wembley Stadium.
Following Tottenham’s second loss to Gent that eventually knocked them out of the Europa League, Son Heung-Min, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembélé all expressed mixed emotions on Thursday night.
With a one-goal deficit to make up in the second leg, this was a match that they all felt was theirs for the taking. Even with only 10 men following Dele Alli’s red card in the 39th minute.
But, it wasn’t meant to be even with a strong starting lineup sans Danny Rose and Érik Lamela. Despite naming one of his strongest XI possible, Mauricio Pochettino’s side crumbled under costly errors.
Son Heung-Min expressed a mixture of anger and disappointment as Spurs’ comeback came up short when Gent delivered the dagger in the 82nd minute.
"“It’s both. It’s very difficult to say something because we don’t have an excuse,” Son explained. “We had many chances to score. I don’t know.”“After the red card we fought, we said ‘we want to win this game’, we tried everything with 10 men and I’m really pleased for my teammates because they fought a lot.”“When I came on I wanted to try to change the game, to give the players the chance to score or to create dangerous situations.”"
Victor Wanyama agreed with Son in that they fought hard until the very end.
Even if Dele Alli’s sending off was a major blow to Spurs’ chances of winning the second leg, it didn’t seem to have an effect as Tottenham kept growing into this match despite being a man down.
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After Wanyama scored in the 61st minute, Spurs kept pouring it on with chance after chance, and just needed one more goal to see them through to the next round.
There was a belief that Spurs could win this match even after a poor first leg, Alli receiving a red card and costly errors.
"“We kept believing, we thought we could get something out of the game,” Wanyama said.“But now we’re all disappointed because we’re out of the competition. “We showed a lot of character and showed we could do it, even with 10 men. I believe we deserved to win.”“We have to pick ourselves up again and the players know that,” Wanyama added. “It was a fantastic second half performance. Hopefully we’ll continue how we played in the second half and we’ll be okay.”"
Mousa Dembélé on the other hand, while he too expressed disappointment with the result and how Spurs conceded two goals, at the end of the day preferred to talk about the positives. Instead of focusing on the negatives, which is the best way to go about things.
"“It’s just disappointment. I think we worked hard, that was an important thing and that’s a positive to take forward,” Dembélé said.“Of course, we wanted to do something, we wanted to win this tie so it’s disappointing but we can be proud of ourselves because we worked hard.“I think we played well, even the guys from Gent said that as well.”“Any kind of goal is disappointing to concede but we just want to concentrate on the positives,” Dembélé continued. “We played very well and if we play like this [against Stoke] we can get the three points.”“We need to take the positive thing out of this and it’s that we played well.”"
Even after getting swept by Gent in this two-legged match-up there are some lessons to be learned.
For starters, Tottenham can’t take any team in Europe lightly no matter which league they play in and who they have on their squad. Because Gent just showed that even a mid-table Belgian club can play better than Spurs and win — twice.
Most importantly though, succeeding in Europe is no easy feat. While Spurs have been European champions back in the day, having a stacked roster full of top quality players is difficult to do in today’s day and age where players seek out more money or chase after silverware rather than sticking at one or two clubs because of loyalty.