Christian Eriksen came off the bench to score a late winner for Tottenham against Inter Milan at Wembley and keep alive their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stage going into their final game at Barcelona.
Spurs needed the win to retain any hope of emerging from Group B into the last 16 and for long spells it looked like their ambitions would flounder on the rock of the Italian side’s resilient defence.
Harry Winks struck the bar and Jan Vertonghen headed wide as Spurs pressed but it took the introduction of Eriksen to make the crucial breakthrough as he was the beneficiary of good work by Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli to score at the far post with 10 minutes left.
Inter had opportunities of their own with Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris saving from Ivan Perisic – but the Premier League side closed out the win and must now match Inter’s result at home to PSV Eindhoven when they travel to the Nou Camp on 11 December to go through.
Spurs had no room for manoeuvre when presented with two home games against PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan to give themselves a chance of staying in the Champions League.
They left it late in both games to secure the wins they needed and this one here, against a well-drilled Inter defence, was a real triumph for resilience and persistence.
They could have been forgiven for thinking the fates were against them as Winks hit the bar and Vertonghen somehow headed Eriksen’s free-kick – the Dane’s first touch after coming on – wide from right in front of goal.
Instead, they kept pressing and were rewarded with Eriksen’s breakthrough to give them the result that keeps them right in the hunt for a place in the last 16 before the trip to Barcelona.
“Barcelona are one of the best teams in Europe and they have unbelievable players,” Pochettino said.
“We have big respect for Barcelona, but we have belief that we can win