Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane praise Tottenham maturity
LONDON -- Tottenham's 3-1 win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League was an impressive display of tactical maturity, according to Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane, who both said they have learned from last year's failures in the competition.
Spurs finished Wednesday's win at Wembley with just 38 percent of possession but they led 2-1 at half-time after Son Heung-Min and Kane scored superb goals on the counter-attack, either side of Andriy Yarmolenko's brilliant equaliser.
Kane added a third after the break for Spurs, who defended unusually deep and soaked up the Dortmund pressure, and they were unlucky not to score more, even if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an equaliser wrongly ruled out for offside at 2-1.
"We didn't play like children. We played like adults," centre-back Alderweireld said. "It wasn't going our way but we fought, we kept compact, we tried to be dangerous when we came out. We did that in the first half, and the second half was even better. We could have been better and scored a lot more.
"When it doesn't go our way, because we want to press, we just stayed compact to get through it, and when we got the ball, we tried to be dangerous. That's a big plus from last season. We were compact, didn't give a lot of chances away. They had a lot of possession but we defended very well. Second half they got more tired and we should have scored more.
"We learned quick. We have to learn quick. It's a good step from last season and a good start. Everybody knew what we had to do. We have more experienced players, they know what to do now in those kind of situations. They keep their heads calm and bring what they have to bring."
Spurs won just once in four European matches at Wembley last season and only beat Russian minnows CSKA Moscow in the Champions League group stage.
Kane added: "It was an experienced performance from us. We've got to learn we can't always press 100 percent against good teams, because they'll find spaces. We dropped off when we needed to, and caught them on the counter-attack with the spaces in behind. We learned from last year's campaign, said we wanted to improve our home form and we've done that.
"It's massive. We want to prove ourselves against the best in Europe, and we definitely did that tonight. We played very well, we were clinical when we needed to be, I thought we deserved to win, we were clever in the way we pressed and when to drop off, so it was a good professional performance and hopefully we can just continue that."
A second yellow card for Jan Vertonghen for catching Mario Gotze in the mouth in stoppage time removed some of the gloss from the victory and the defender accused the Germany player of making too much of the incident.
"I didn't agree with it. I had no intention of hitting him. For me, it was a mistake. I was trying to win the ball, protect it, but had no intention to hit him. I think a couple of guys made too much of it," Vertonghen said.
Alderweireld added: "I think Jan was a little bit unfortunate. Things happen in football. I don't think it was dangerous use of his arm or something. It was a second yellow so maybe one game [ban]. We'll see."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.