Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said a half-time video session made the difference in Spurs' 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League action.
The hosts scored three second-half goals to take a big step toward a quarter-final spot in the competition. Per ESPN FC's Ben Pearce, Pochettino said changes were needed after a tricky first half:
"The first half was very difficult, first of all because we never felt the confidence to play. We took some rash decisions. It's like we weren't comfortable. We didn't feel what we planned to play.
"But after we fixed some problems, showing them some clips at half-time and talking a little about different positions―offensive and defensive―and trying to help the team to perform better."
He also warned his players the tie is not over and said that Spurs will travel to Germany with the intention of winning.
Heung-Min Son opened the scoring shortly into the second half, as Spurs found the gaps behind BVB's full-backs. Jan Vertonghen in particular improved dramatically, assisting the opener and bagging the second goal of the match.
A late Fernando Llorente header completed a spectacular second half for the hosts, who appear likely to advance to the next round.
Spurs were praised after the contest, and Pochettino's efforts at half-time received special mention from Gary Lineker:
This really has been a superb performance from @SpursOfficial with brilliant tactical adjustments from Pochettino at halftime. Wow!— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 13, 2019
Sports writer Matt Law was also impressed:
Fair to say Pochettino got it spectacularly right tonight. I don't think there is a manager doing a better job with his resources in Europe right now.— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) February 13, 2019
It was a strong performance against a Dortmund side that has impressed in the Bundesliga but was also missing several key starters. Marco Reus, Lukasz Piszczek, Julian Weigl, Michael Akanji and Paco Alcacer all missed out.
Those absences shouldn't take away from what was a fine performance from the Premier League side, however.
Spurs had several standout performers, including young defender Juan Foyth―the 21-year-old made his first Champions League start of the season―and Vertonghen. The Belgian played in an unfamiliar wing-back role, and Pochettino admitted it was a risk to move him out wide:
"Today it's 3-0 and maybe everyone says, 'Oh, fantastic decision', or maybe if it's a different result I'm the worst coach in the world.
"The balance is the most important thing. If you win you're not a genius, if you lose it's not a disaster. You just need to take the right decision the next time because football is about winning."
Most of the praise went to Son, however, who scored yet another goal to power the Tottenham attack. Pochettino was told the 26-year-old's goals always come in wins and had a funny response:
Is Son the lucky charm for Spurs? 🍀 pic.twitter.com/QWZlic99AH— Goal (@goal) February 14, 2019
Spurs and Dortmund will meet again for the second leg on March 5, with the hosts needing a minor miracle to advance to the quarter-finals.