Spurs dominated the 2017-18 Champions League group stage but lost in the last 16, while this season they’re in the final despite a difficult group campaign.
Tottenham Hotspur left-back Ben Davies has made the observation that Mauricio Pochettino’s side probably played better in the Champions League group stages last season, yet this is the campaign which has yielded a spot in the final.
In 2017-18, Spurs finished top of Group H ahead of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, picking up four points against Los Blancos – who would go on to claim a third consecutive trophy – and a full house against Jurgen Klopp’s former side, but were knocked out in the last 16 against Juventus.
This term, Tottenham took only one point from their first three group stage games and required late goals to beat PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan, before an 85th-minute goal from Lucas Moura against Barcelona at Camp Nou took them through to the knockout stage.
However, subsequent victories over Dortmund in the last 16, Manchester City in the quarters and Ajax in the semis have propelled the Lilywhites to within one game of lifting the trophy, with fellow Premier League side Liverpool standing in their way at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano on 1 June.
“It felt like we were up against it after losing the first game so late at Inter,” recalled Davies in conversation with the Spurs website. “Barcelona and Messi in the second game, he was special that night. PSV away was so frustrating. Then Harry’s header goes in off a couple of ricochets to beat PSV and we’re up and running.
“These are the moments that can define seasons. It’s funny – we probably played better in the group stage last season, we were flying, but this has been about grit, determination and players have delivered those moments of quality when we’ve needed them. You need that in a cup run.”