Pochettino is a fine coach. This is no recent discovery or new revelation but his tactical set-up last night at the Bernabeu confirmed his pedigree with a solid performance from his men. It's worth noting that of the 21 players to have debuted with the English national side in recent times, 17 hail from Pochettino managed clubs, firstly Southampton and then Tottenham. The Argentine is clearly becoming an instrumental force in bringing through young talent. Yesterday his side offered a solid display with everyone from Hugo Lloris through to Fernando Llorente in attack producing accomplished performances. A draw was a fair scoreline but a result that will worry Real Madrid.
Plaudits for the goalkeepers
It's not that Madrid played badly although it wouldn't be fair either to say they played well apart from a brief 10-15 minute spell at the start of the second half. Cristiano and Benzema were somewhat detached in the opposition area and on too many occasions Madrid's offensive play broke down without the ball reaching the forward line. To be fair to the player from Madeira, he did hit the post and force some fine stops from Lloris. Benzema had a very discreet evening and the Frenchman really should have scored. Both goalkeepers produced some fine key saves as Spurs looked to attack the home side down Marcelo's flank with the Brazilian still not at his best.
Struggle to win
What we really needed from Real Madrid was someone to produce a bit of magic. That magic was certainly lacking in Benzema's performance with Isco also unable to pick the Spurs lock apart. As the match wore on Asensio was brought into action but the Mallorquin had little time to impose himself on the game. A Varane own goal and a penalty for Madrid, converted by Cristiano after Kroos was upended in the area were the only goals of the night. A intriguing game but ultimately disappointing from a Madrid perspective and it's somewhat alarming to see the team struggle to win at the Bernabéu these days.