Son Heung-Min admits Spurs must learn from painful Champions League defeat to Juventus

Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-Min was in tears at the final whistle after defeat to Italian side Juventus but said his side will do better next season. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Son Heung-Min admits Spurs must learn from painful Champions League defeat to Juventus

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min says the club must learn from their painful Champions League exit at the hands Juventus, which denied them a place in the quarterfinals of Europe’s premier competition.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were on course for the last eight after Son’s first-half goal put them 1-0 up on the night and 3-2 ahead on aggregate.
But the Italian champions stunned Wembley with two goals in three second-half minutes from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.
In the dying seconds Harry Kane thought he had taken the tie to extra time, only to see his header come back off the inside of the far post before being cleared off the line.
Son, who was in tears after the final whistle, said: “That hurt, but it’s football. We played well but sometimes football is like this. We have to accept the result but still for me, it hurts a lot.
“What was the difference? Nothing. At the start we played well, we created lots of chances, got to 1-0 and made the perfect start I think.
“This game we can learn something from, but this is sad news. The dressing room was quiet.”
Tottenham’s European campaign, including wins over Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, was a vast improvement on the previous season, when they failed to get past the group stage.
South Korea’s Son said Spurs were “unlucky” to be out of the Champions League but had earned valuable experience.
“We remember last season, we went out in the group stage so now we did well, we learned something again and next season we will do better,” he said.
“Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund doesn’t matter anymore. I thought we were better than (Juventus) but it doesn’t matter now — they scored two goals at Wembley Stadium,” he added.
And Pochettino insisted Tottenham had nothing to be ashamed of after three minutes of madness ended their European run.
Tottenham were on course to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011 until Juventus completely flipped the script. The result was a bitter blow for Spurs and the loss will raise fresh questions about their ability to win major trophies under Pochettino.
But, yet to land any silverware with the north Londoners, Pochettino bristled at suggestions Tottenham aren’t mentally strong enough to win on the big occasions.
“All this talk is rubbish. At the end it is win or lose. When you assess the game, I think only Tottenham was better for more than 70 minutes,” he said.
“If Harry (Kane) scored at the end or we scored twice in the first half, maybe we are talking differently. I’m happy with my players. We did everything to try to win.
“It was not a lack of experience, not a lack of concentration. How many chances did we concede?
“We conceded three chances and they scored twice. We had a lot of chances and only scored one.
“We can talk about a lot of situations, but sometimes you need some luck to win.”


Drew Brees brilliance, Tom Brady’s bumbling and buoyant Bills — NFL Week 3 review

Updated 25 September 2018
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Drew Brees brilliance, Tom Brady’s bumbling and buoyant Bills — NFL Week 3 review

Here is Arab News’ weekly examination of all the talking points from the NFL...

Has Drew Brees’ loyalty cost him greatness?
There are very few records left to break for the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees. In Sunday’s thrilling overtime win against divisional rivals Atlanta Falcons, Brees broke Brett Favre’s record for the most completed passes in NFL history. In the coming weeks, he will likely overtake Peyton Manning’s NFL record for career passing yards — Brees needs just 417 more to claim that record.
Yet, for all his numerical greatness, he has just one Super Bowl ring. Since 2006, Brees has been the Saints’ quarterback, and the stars aligned in 2009 as his efforts clinched an emotional Super Bowl for the team. But he has not been back to the Big Game since, and one has to wonder whether, if he had had the attacking weapons at the disposal of Manning and Tom Brady over the past decade, he could have won a few more. When he does finally call it a day, he will look back fondly on a fantastic career, but perhaps with a touch of regret that — in a sport where titles matter — he will not be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Brady, John Elway and Joe Montana.

Is the Patriots dynasty finally waning?
Speaking of Brady, we are in uncharted waters with the New England Patriots after losing to the previously winless Detroit Lions for back-to-back defeats. Over the past 15 years, that has only happened six times. Worse still, onlookers labeled it one of the low points in Bill Belichick’s 19 years at the franchise. The usually potent and formidable attacking line of the Patriots has not clicked at all this season. There is hope for Pats fans, though, as they have made similarly bad starts before and gone on to win the whole thing. But there is a nagging feeling that this is the beginning of the end for this all-conquering Patriots dynasty.

The NFL is anything but predictable
Hollywood loves an underdog movie about gridiron — think “Any Given Sunday” — but in the NFL, life sometimes imitates art. In the first two weeks of the season, the Buffalo Bills looked like a high school team. This week, they turned up to face the much-fancied Vikings in their own back yard and trounced them 27-6. Meanwhile, the league’s dark horses, Jacksonville, were far from championship-winning material in a dour 9-6 loss to the Titans. A lot of non-sporting nonsense surrounds the NFL, but at its core is an intriguing, exciting and highly unpredictable sport.


We could watch the Kansas City Chiefs every week
The exploits of Patrick Mahomes make the Chiefs the most exciting team to watch in the NFL at the moment, but their blistering offensive line and sometimes shambolic defense mean their games have been high-scoring blockbusters. They became the first team to score 38 points or more in a game during the first three weeks with a 38-27 win over San Francisco, but they have also conceded 92 points in those three matches. Not bad, considering they are spearheaded by Andy Reid, the man sacked by the Eagles for making them too defensively minded and negative.