Lucas Moura “deserves a statue” after his hat-trick took Tottenham into an all-English Champions League final, says team-mate Christian Eriksen.
Ajax led 3-0 on aggregate – but Moura’s goals, including a 96th-minute winner, took Tottenham through on away goals to face Liverpool on 1 June.
Moura himself called it “the best moment of my career”.
Eriksen said: “It was a ridiculous game; we were really far down, we tried to fight back, we were just lucky.”
The Danish playmaker added: “We had to fight. We are relieved.
“Today it was non-tactical, more of a fight and heart performance, heart and Lucas Moura – he’s how we won the game.
“He deserves it, it has been a rollercoaster of a season, for him to get us in the final, I hope he gets a statue in England after this, we are blown away.
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Moura was a superhero – Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino, who has been Tottenham’s manager since 2014, was in tears at the final whistle – and again during an emotional post-match interview on BT Sport.
He said: “The emotion is amazing, thank you to football. My players are heroes – in the last year I was telling everyone this group are heroes – in the second half they were amazing.
“Thank you to everyone who has believed in us. To describe this in words is difficult.
“They are all heroes but [Lucas Moura] was a superhero. It’s difficult to compete at this level. I am so grateful to be a coach: to be in football and to live this type of football.
“We showed we love the sport and football. Today was amazing. It was a joy to watch this kind of game.”
Always believe in this moment – Moura
Tottenham’s hat-trick hero Lucas Moura, speaking to BT Sport, said: “It’s impossible to explain what I’m feeling. I’m very happy and very proud of my team-mates.
“Always believe in this moment. We gave everything on the pitch and deserved this moment – we are family. It’s impossible to explain, a big gift from God I’d like to share with team-mates, friends and family.
“It’s about not only me but my team-mates and teamwork. Everyone worked really hard. It’s difficult to play here against Ajax but I always believed in my team-mates. Even without key players we did really well. We need to fight in every game like this.
“The football is amazing – it gives us a moment like this. We cannot imagine. It’s the best moment in my career.”
‘The ground disappeared from under our feet’
Ajax are top of the Dutch Eredvisie, level on points with PSV Eindhoven with two games remaining, but missed out on reaching their first Champions League final since 1996.
Captain Matthijs de Ligt, who scored his side’s first goal, said: “It was like the ground disappeared from under our feet. So close. We were so close.
“Naturally it was deathly quiet in the dressing room afterwards. But, how painful it is, we have had a fantastic journey – and we can still become [domestic] champions.”
“It was great to see the support our fans gave us; it made us realise how much this campaign has meant for them. If we win the title, I will feel very proud, and it will help soften the blow of standing with one foot in the Champions League final with only seconds to go.
“The game lasted five seconds too long.”
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag added: “We were so close, we had so deserved it, but that last second…
“I told the players in the [half-time] break that it wasn’t over yet; you could tell by the attitude of the Tottenham players that they still believed.
“When that ball hits the post from Hakim Ziyech, it’s over and out for Spurs. But I can’t blame anyone.
“We have had an incredible Champions League season and have grown a lot as a team. It is difficult to process.”