In the second half we were even more dominant than in the first half. In the second half we opened up the pitch even more and created chances. They didn’t cross the halfway line and it was even more dominant than in the first half. But Davinson Sanchez made one mistake that gave them a corner and they scored. I think it was 15 or 20 minutes to play.
In that moment we had obviously to level everything, so Davinson Sanchez out and Lucas in. Then we were playing only with Dier and Ben was wide on the left and Lucas wide on the right. All the other players on the inside and we tried to create lots of triangles on the inside.
We started creating even more chances and the penalty arrived with the Portuguese boy saving with his hand, Ben Davies’ goal. So penalty and red card.
In that moment I felt immediately that if we score the game is in our hands of course.
Then on top of that one of their players started digging with his foot a hole in the penalty spot and of course the referee gave him the second yellow card so they went to nine.
When we scored the goal I was not even panicking about killing the game in 90 minute because if you got to extra time it will be 30 minutes, of course impossible for them to hold us, but we started pushing and after the second goal game over.
Of course when they scored it was a moment to dream and a moment for us to fear for our future in the competition.
What did you make of the penalty claim for the challenge on Steven Bergwijn?
Yep, it was a big penalty. With my experience, even from long distance and with the players’ reactions I felt even more but the referee and the linesman decided not to give. No VAR.
We knew that if we scored a goal in the first half it would be a totally different game.
Great emotion, good for the players to feel the dramatic situation of 10-15 minutes to go and losing 1-0 and then the last feeling of course is to win and go to the next round and the happiness of that.
Are you satisfied with the way your team played and where did Plovdiv make life difficult for Spurs?
Yes they made life difficult, especially with their attitude. It was a big game for them and they showed that. They gave everything, absolutely everything.
They couldn’t play like they normally do in the Bulgarian league and cups. Of course they play in the same system but normally they are very offensive and today they were very defensive.
So we had the ball every time and it was just a question of scoring before them, which we didn’t. We could in the first half. We hit the bar, had the penalty not given, we had good chances.
They scored before us and then game is in the limits. Of course my bench is much stronger than their bench. When I made the changes I had players on the bench with the qualities to come on and try to help us change the game.
Could that performance for Tanguy be a turning point?
Tanguy is in a process of evolution. Last season he wasn’t. Last season he stuck in a situation where I couldn’t see evolution. In this moment he’s training very, very well.
He’s recovering from his injury, he’s recovering physically and today he gave us what we needed in this last 30 minutes.
In this moment, I believe in Tanguy. I never doubted his quality. Never. I doubted in some moments his motivation and commitment and professional attitude.
In this moment I believe in him. Today we made this decision together to not start the game because he also feels that he needs a bit more but in this moment I think that Tanguy can do well for us.
Did you like the performances of the Plovid players?
I liked Plovid when I watched them. Today they couldn’t play the way they normally do. But I like. The coach is a good coach, the team plays in a certain way.
Today they played basically with five but in Bulgaria they play with three because both wing-backs are more wingers than back. But very aggressive, pressing very high. Today it was difficult for them, they just defended and tried counter-attack which was a good strategy by the coach.
I like the effort, I like what I love in football. A small team fighting hard against a much better team. I feel really sorry no public in the stadium because by winning the cup they deserve to be in the Europa League, playing against Tottenham in Plovdiv. Doesn’t happen every day, big occasion, I feel very sorry for the Bulgarian fans that they couldn’t be in the stadium.
The Spurs fans are excited about the return of Gareth Bale, can you feel that?
I cannot comment, I don’t comment on something that I don’t know. For me, at this moment, until I’m told Gareth Bale is a Tottenham player, I still think and feel and respect the fact that he’s a Real Madrid player, so I’m not going to comment on a Real Madrid player.