After Tottenham were drawn in a group alongside both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League this season, their fans must have feared a repeat of what happened last campaign.
Last time out, Spurs were in a comfortable looking group with Monaco, CSKA Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen.
Of course, Monaco went on to shock Europe by reaching the semi-finals but Mauricio Pochettino’s side could only pick up seven points from their six matches. It meant they finished third and entered the Europa League, rather than the last-16 of the Champions League.
But in the opening three matches of this season’s competition, they have already registered seven points after beating Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia before their impressive draw against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Spurs were heavy underdogs going into the clash against the side that have won the competition in each of the last two seasons. But the north Londoners held their own and even had chances to win the match in the second-half.
Pochettino produced a tactical masterclass by fielding a 5-3-2 formation with Harry Kane and Fernando Llorente up front. It forced Casemeiro back to deal with Llorente, who dropped into a deeper position and allowed Cristian Eriksen, Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko battling against Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the heart of midfield.
As well as getting your tactics spot on, you need a good motivational team-talk before heading onto the pitch. And that might have been delivered by Hugo Lloris.
The French goalkeeper was in outstanding form - making one unbelievable save from Karim Benzema’s header. And he’s explaining what he said to Kane - and some other players - before taking to the pitch.
What Lloris said to Kane
“I said to Harry and the young players, 'don’t forget where we’re from,'” Lloris revealed.
“Three years ago we were in the Europa League. Last season we discovered the Champions League and we were a bit disappointed with our performances. This season we can be proud.”
So Lloris told Kane and a few other players to keep their feet on the ground before playing against one of the best sides in world football.
And it certainly seemed to work.
Spurs looked confident - but not too confident - during the match and fully deserved to pick up a point that puts them in a fantastic position to qualify for the last-16.
And Lloris maybe deserves credit for his little pep-talk as well as his incredible performance.
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