In their 3-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt with 10 men in the Champions League, Tottenham manager Antonio Conte stated it would have been a “catastrophe” if they had given up a two-goal advantage.
Harry Kane’s penalty and Son Heung-brace min’s reversed Daichi Kamada’s opening goal for the Germans, who had Tuta dismissed, and Spurs were in command with a 3-1 lead and an additional man.
Faride Alidou gave Frankfurt hope, but after a flurry of substitutions and a loss of focus, Spurs invited trouble when Kane uncharacteristically missed a penalty to end the game late.
When Alidou’s last-ditch attempt flew directly at Hugo Lloris, Conte’s heart was in his mouth and he began to worry about what might happen in the five minutes of added time.
According to Conte, the game’s conclusion offers an important lesson.
He said: “The negative aspect is the final part and it has to be a big lesson for everybody, for me, for the players. The game finishes when the referee whistles three times.
“In the last part of the game, everybody conceded the game ended and for this reason we made a big mistake. We conceded a corner they scored, then we had the opportunity to score the penalty but we missed the penalty.
“When we missed the penalty honestly, I was a bit scared, because I thought everything can happen.
“We are talking about a really good performance but the final part we have to take a big lesson, everybody. Myself and the players, everybody conceded the game ended. Maybe also the stadium and the fans.
“It is difficult, now we are talking with a smile because we won. But imagine if this game finished a draw. That would have been a disaster.”
Even still, Tottenham’s victory ensures that they will advance to the knockout round if they defeat Sporting Lisbon in their upcoming Group D match in two weeks.
That, according to Conte, is the season’s main objective.
“We have the chance with the next game with a win to go through the next round. For us, that would be a great achievement,” the Italian added.
“That was our first target in this season to go through to the next round in the Champions League. Now our focus has to be on Saturday because I tried to exploit this situation, I tried to give a bit of rest to players.
“We have tomorrow to rest and then on Friday we have to prepare the game against Everton.”
Frankfurt manager Oliver Glasner added: “Tottenham deserved to win over the 90 minutes, but I was pleased with the reaction.
“We couldn’t cope with the quality of the Tottenham attack at points. We allowed Harry Kane too many balls and he processed them really well.”