Mauricio Pochettino ‘may overtake Bill Nicholson’ if he guides Tottenham to Champions League glory, Lord Alan Sugar tells talkSPORT

9 May

Mauricio Pochettino could eclipse legendary Tottenham manager Bill Nicholson if he steers the north London club to an unlikely Champions League win, claims former chairman Lord Alan Sugar.

Spurs completed another miraculous European comeback as they beat Ajax in Amsterdam to reach their first ever European Cup final.

Like Liverpool against Barcelona, Tottenham came back from 3-0 down to book their flights to Madrid, with Lucas Moura’s second-half hat-trick seeing them win on away goals.

Tottenham stunned Ajax to reach the Champions League final

It was a stunning late show from Pochettino’s men, with Brazilian ace Moura scoring his winning goal in the sixth minute of added time.

They now face their Premier League rivals in the final where, despite 24 points separating the two sides in the league table, anything can happen.

And Lord Sugar believes Pochettino could be on the road to greatness at White Hart Lane if Tottenham achieve the unthinkable in Madrid.

Asked if lifting the trophy would put the Argentine up there with ‘Mr Tottenham’ Nicholson, who won eight major trophies in 16 years as Spurs manager, Sugar told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “Obviously he’s got to be, hasn’t he.

“You’ve got to admire him.

Mauricio Pochettino and the Tottenham players celebrate their dramatic win over Ajax

“Bill Nic was the great and if Poch wins the Champions League he would have to go on and win the Premier League one day, and then I suppose he might overtake Bill. You never know.”

The former Spurs chairman still appeared in shock when speaking for Alan Brazil and Ally McCoist the morning after Moura’s heroics.

“What a game, it was unbelievable,” he added.

“The emotion from Mauricio yesterday was unbelievable. It goes to show you that big men cry.

Pochettino was in tears at the full time whistle

“Two on the trot! First of all, hats off to Liverpool. I was watching that game thinking, ‘my God what determination, what courage’ and we’ve got to do the same.

“Surely that would have been inspiration for our lads, but then we go 2-0 down! But, the second half comes in and the rest is history. It was unbelievable.

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“It’s got to be a 50-year highlight for the club. We haven’t won anything of significance since the 60s.

“It’s come at a time when we’ve got this fantastic new stadium and when we’ve just started to worry a little bit after losing a few of our last games, but the manager and the team pulled the rabbit out of the hat.”

Listen back to Lord Alan Sugar on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above

Tottenham vs Ajax: How Spurs could have won European Cup in 1962 if VAR had been in existence

30 Apr

In their thrilling Champions League quarter-final win against Manchester City, Tottenham were hugely thankful for VAR.

First Fernando Llorente’s crucial third goal, which turned out to be the one to send Spurs through, was allowed to stand after referee Cuneyt Cakir checked footage and ruled the striker had not handled the ball prior to it going in.

City thought they’d won but VAR intervened

Then in injury time City thought they scored the goal they needed to progress to the last four when Raheem Sterling struck from close range.

However, replays showed Sergio Aguero was marginally offside and the goal was chalked off. meaning Tottenham were through to their first European Cup semi-final in 57 years.

But had video assistant referees existed in 1962 Spurs might have been the first English side to win the prestigious competition.

Legendary Tottenham manager Bill Nicholson was convinced officials got it wrong in their semi-final first leg at Benfica where the prolific Eusebio was the star.

“We had two ‘goals’ disallowed,” he wrote in his autobiography. “The first when Jimmy Greaves beat a full-back and put the ball into the net only to be given offside and the second when Greaves pulled the ball back for Bobby Smith to ‘score’.
“Greaves was certain that he was ahead of Smith when he passed, which meant that it was impossible for him to be offside.”

Spurs captain Danny Blanchflower shaking hands with Benfica captain Jose Aguas before the second leg of the European Cup semi final at White Hart

Spurs fell behind on the night after only five minutes through teenage winger Antonio Simoes.
A moment later, the 500 travelling Spurs fans thought Greaves had equalised.
Jose Augusto fired Benfica 2-0 up on 19 minutes.

Nicholson won the League and FA Cup in 1962 and, despite missing out on the European Cup, still saw Spurs become the first British side to win a European trophy when they won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963

Danny Blanchflower helped reduce the deficit when Smith thumped in his cross in the second half, but Augusto’s 64th-minute header gave Benfica a 3-1 lead.
Spurs thought they had reduced the arrears in the dying moments but, despite two Benfica defenders on the GOAL LINE, Smith was ruled offside.
To make matters worse, Greaves had another goal disallowed for offside in the second leg in front of 60,000 fans at White Hart Lane.
The linesman struggled to keep up with the speed of the striker and was well behind the play with his flag raised.
VAR, though, would have shown Greaves was well onside.

Tottenham’s current side face Ajax over two legs for a place in the Champions League final

“The ref seemed willing to accept that Greaves had scored a good goal, but the linesman raised his flag,” Nicholson wrote.
Greaves thought as much, too. “I thought it was a good one. I ran between two Benfica players before shooting.
“This is twice I have been ‘done’ in the European Cup.
Tottenham eventually won 2-1 in the second leg, falling just short of reaching the final. Benfica, who had beaten Barcelona in the 1961 final, retained the trophy by beating Real Madrid 5-3.
Nicholson added: “I believe that, but for some marginal refereeing decisions that went against us, we would have qualified to play Real in the final — and would have gone on to win.”