Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham's UCL exit not down to inexperience

LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino insisted that lack of experience was not to blame for Tottenham's Champions League defeat to Juventus on Wednesday.

Spurs lost 3-2 on aggregate after second-half goals from Argentinian duo Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, three minutes apart, seal Juve a 2-1 win in the round-of-16 second leg at Wembley Stadium.

Juve have reached two of the last three Champions League finals and they have won six consecutive Serie A titles, combining the Scudetto with the Coppa Italia in the last three seasons.

By contrast, Spurs -- who lead on the night through Son Heung-Min's goal and recovered from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in Turin -- are still yet to win a trophy under Pochettino and were playing in the Champions League knockout stage for only the second time in the current format.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini suggested the relative experience helped see his side though, but Pochettino rejected that stance.

"No, no lack of experience or lack of concentration [was not to blame]," the Spurs manager said. "How many chances did we concede in the first leg and second leg today? I think we conceded three chances and they scored twice.

"We created a lot of chances and we only scored once. The reality is we conceded three chances and they scored twice and we created many, many chances. Sometimes you need some luck to win.

"But I feel very proud. We competed very well against a very good team like Juventus. We dominated and overall in the two games I think we were much better, but in this type of level, in three minutes, I think the tie was for Juventus."

Pochettino felt Spurs proved over two legs that they belong alongside the likes of Juventus and said blaming the defeat on different players or factors was "rubbish," when Spurs had simply not had the breaks.

"When you show similar quality and you compete in the same level as a team that in the last three season has played two finals in this competition only you can feel proud and happy and understand that football sometimes you cannot win for different circumstances," he said.

"All we are going to talk about now is all rubbish -- different names, lack of experience, lack of concentration and everything else. I repeat: three chances, two goals. When you assess the game and watch it again, I think only Tottenham, for more than 70 minutes was much better and we created a lot of chances."

Before the game, Pochettino refused to set a limit of what Spurs can achieve and described himself as a "dreamer". Asked if his dream had turned into a nightmare, he said: "I still am a dreamer.

"Today for us we lost but, in the way we lost, I am happy, I am very proud of my players. Look, for me football is not a nightmare. In football you can win or lose, we respect our idea, we played football and we created a lot of chances. But in the end it was not enough to win the game. That is all."

Spurs' bid to secure Champions League football for next season continues at Bournemouth on Saturday, while they face Swansea in the FA Cup quarterfinal on the following weekend.

Pochettino urged his players to look ahead and not to let their season fizzle out, adding: "I think the team played fantastically, but we lose and now it is to try to see the future and being positive and try to help the team to still improve.

"That is football. Keep going and now to try to see the future, a lot of games ahead to play, two competitions and in football you cannot stop."