Tottenham Hotspur walked away from the Santiago Bernabeu with a valuable point. A Raphael Varane own goal was cancelled out by a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty but neither side could find a winner. Let’s delve into the Spanish newspapers this morning and see what they’re saying about Spurs’ performance against the reigning European champions, Real Madrid.
MARCA – “Goalkeepers were the real winners, not the strikers”
The newspaper, which most people associate as having a close relationship with Real Madrid, say the match was similar to a Premier League fixture. “After 15 minutes, Pochettino’s team woke up and found a way to hurt Madrid – down Marcelo’s side.”
Later on there’s praise for Hugo Lloris and how they’re surprised he isn’t mentioned in debates about the best goalkeepers in the world. “At the end (Tottenham) celebrated their growth and a golden point.”
In the player ratings Serge Aurier is referred to as “a wall” and who always had the beating of Marcelo. Mousa Sissoko is “a player to keep in mind” after also finding joy down Spurs’ right-hand side. For Christian Eriksen, he’s “a quality player but moves in slow motion.” On Harry Kane: “He responded to the fame which preceded the match and was involved in the own goal.”
Further into the paper there’s a feature on Hugo Lloris and Keylor Navas. The talk pre-match was all about the duel between Kane and Cristiano but in the end, it was the goalkeepers who were the stars. “On 20 occasions Madrid tried to score but only a penalty could bring down Lloris’ wall.”
The Bernabeu is no longer a fortress
There’s also talk of Madrid’s struggles at the Bernabeu this season, only winning once in front of their own fans in the league. “Tottenham opened up a wound which Madrid thought they’d closed after beating Espanyol at the weekend.”
Mauricio Pochettino spoke to various Spanish media outlets after the game and was full of praise for his side’s performance. More so than the result itself. “We gave everything to compete with Madrid and that’s the most important thing. It’s true the point gives us more chances (to progress). I believe the result was fair. Lloris was fantastic and so was Keylor to deny Kane. We continue to grow.”
Zinedine Zidane, disappointed with the draw, admitted that Spurs deserved a point. On the return fixture at Wembley he said: “It’s at Wembley, which isn’t Tottenham’s home, so it’ll feel like a final. It’ll be a fantastic game and we’ll go there to win.”
READ MORE: Kane reflects on missed chance against Real
There’s also a section on man-of-the-moment Kane, who felt his ‘mark’ on the Bernabeu. They even go as far to say he was “an authentic nightmare” for Varane throughout the match. “Kane has all the traits to be one of those players we’ll be talking about for years to come.” On the team as a whole: “Pochettino’s team confirmed their potential. They showed what they can do even when they’re obligated to improvise like they did yesterday.”
Roberto Gomez, a Marca columnist, said this about Pochettino and Kane: “I wish to see more of them at the Bernabeu. Both are on track to stay here one day. Keep an eye on them.”
AS – Pochettino got it right
“Pochettino is a good coach. We didn’t discover that last night but that belief was solidified.” Alfredo Relaño was full of praise for the Argentinian who got his team selection spot on. He, too, said Spurs deserved their point and showed they can also be a tough nut to crack.
In the tactics section there is plenty of praise for Pochettino’s intelligent set-up. Three at the back and looking to counter down Marcelo’s flank worked time and time again. Elsewhere the decision to play Fernando Llorente and have him sit between Casemiro and Varane caused Madrid’s defence all kinds of problems. It was a tactic Zidane couldn’t find a solution to.
AS also touch upon the recent media talk of Spurs ‘fearing’ a bid from Real Madrid for Kane. There’s nothing added to this from a Spanish perspective, only quoting the Mirror and Times stories. Both of which came across as guess work more than facts. They do say, however, that Kane “passed the test” at the Bernabeu last night.
SPORT – “Real Madrid couldn’t deal with Tottenham”
In case you don’t know, SPORT is a newspaper which tends to favour Barcelona. Their take on events is vastly different to the previous two. They felt Spurs, and Pochettino, were brave and had Madrid on the rocks at times. “Madrid were only saved by a Cristiano penalty.”
They also point out that Casemiro’s challenge on Llorente was almost identical to the one which resulted in a penalty for Madrid.
Pochettino’s team were well organised and caused problems when they broke on the counterattack. Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio didn’t change the game when they came on.
Mundo Deportivo – “Individual quality vs Tactical coaching”
Again, like with SPORT, it’s worth bearing in mind Mundo Deportivo aren’t a pro-Madrid publication. They also praise Pochettino’s tactical approach to the game, how they can switch it up, and that it could see them go far in this year’s competition. “It might not always be spectacular but it isn’t typical, English route-one football either.”
Perhaps the biggest story or rumour is that Barcelona are keeping tabs on Kane’s progression. With Luis Suarez approaching 31, it makes sense they are looking for a new number nine. However as Levy loves to drive up the price – allegedly saying Kane would cost more than Neymar – it appears Barça might need to look elsewhere.
There is another Spurs man in Barcelona’s sights though and that’s Eriksen. We all know Philippe Coutinho is Barcelona’s primary target but could they switch their attentions to Eriksen instead? It appears unlikely either of them would be available in January though.