Tottenham star Heung-min Son hits back at Giorgio Chiellini over ‘mentally fragile’ taunt

AFP/Getty Images

Tottenham goalscorer Heung-min Son reacted angrily to suggestions that last night’s Champions League defeat by Juventus was down to a lack of experience.

Giorgio Chiellini told ITV Sport that Spurs were ‘weak’ and ‘mentally fragile’, after Juventus reached the quarter-finals with a 3-2 victory on aggregate following their 2-1 win at Wembley.

The Italians have reached two of the past three Champions League Finals, while they have won six consecutive Serie A titles and three straight Coppa Italias.

Spurs, by contrast, were featuring in the knock-outs for the second time and they are yet to win silverware under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Asked by Standard Sport if experience was the ­difference, Son (right) said: “No, I don’t think so. Do you think they played better than us?

“We deserved more. We dominated. They just scored two goals and everyone’s thinking, ‘Yeah, they went through normally’. I don’t feel like that.

“I’m very proud of our performance. We should have scored a lot of goals in the first half. The

[situation in the] second half takes experience of course, you could say that.

“But I think our players are experienced enough. Sometimes if you don’t score, you lose. That’s the main thing.”

Son converted Kieran Trippier’s cross with lose. That’s the main thing.” Son converted a cross with a scuffed finish to put Spurs in control. But the introduction of Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Juve’s subsequent switch to a back four, changed the match and the visitors scored twice in four minutes.

“I feel disappointed, sad, everything,” Son said. “After the game, the dressing room was quieter than normal. But it’s football. It’s a bad feeling when you play better than them and you lose — this hurt me a lot. I can’t sleep tonight.”

Juve’s superior know-how was evident at the start of the second half as they disrupted Spurs’ rhythm with a series of fouls, leading to three quick bookings, before their 64th-minute equaliser.

Son appeared to be the victim of a first-half stamp by Andrea Barzagli, who escaped punishment, but he refused to say the defender should have been sent off or condemn Juve’s robust approach. “I don’t know, it’s the referee’s decision. Sometimes there can be accidents,” Son smiled. “What can I say? It happened too quick for me.”

“Football is about tackling, about winning the ball,” he added. “Sometimes you’re going to be tackled harder than normal.”

Spurs topped a group including Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and they outplayed Juventus for the majority of both legs. Last season they beat only CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, and Son stressed how far they have come. “We’re so young,” he said. “Remember last season when we had the problem with the Champions League at Wembley? This season, no one can say that because we play very well from the group.

(IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

“Everyone didn’t think in the group stage we’d be through but we’re through, and we played very well against Juventus.

Pochettino also dismissed concerns about his team’s know-how at this level. “No, lack of experience [was not to blame],” he said. “We created a lot of chances and we only scored once. That is the reality.”

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes