Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says “we are still in a dream, a bubble” after his side’s stunning away-goals over at Manchester City to reach the last four of the Champions League.
In a remarkable second leg at Etihad Stadium, Spurs lost 4-3 but went through having won the first leg 1-0.
They face Ajax in the semi-finals, with the first-leg at home on 30 April.
“At the beginning of the season no one believed that destiny would reward us,” said the Argentine.
“This amazing history that we are writing today will be a massive example for us in our future.”
City were leading 4-2 and heading through with just over 15 minutes to play when Fernando Llorente scored to level the aggregate score at 4-4 – and hand Spurs the away-goals advantage.
The ball seemed to make contact with the Spaniard’s elbow before coming off his hip and beyond Ederson, but the goal stood after a video assistant referee (VAR) review by Cuneyt Cakir, the match referee.
In injury time, Raheem Sterling appeared to have scored the winner as the home crowd erupted in celebration, only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR after Sergio Aguero was adjudged to be offside in the build-up.
Describing the moment that Sterling scored, Pochettino said: “I started to think very bad things. But in that moment I hear someone say ‘maybe it is offside and VAR checking’, in that moment I was alive again. I understand the situation on the City bench, from the top of the world down.”
Spurs are back at Etihad Stadium to face City in the Premier League on Saturday, their third meeting in 12 days.
Pochettino added: “We are tired after an amazing and crazy and unbelievable night. We flew late [back to London] and didn’t sleep too much.
“But the happiness made us feel strong and with energy. We need to forget the Champions League now and be ready for Saturday, for a battle.”
Harry Kane missed Wednesday’s match as he recovers from an ankle injury picked up in the first leg.
“We are not optimistic but you know Harry Kane and with Harry Kane all is possible,” Pochettino said. “We are not going to say he is not going to play again or not. We will assess him day by day.”
‘Spurs player are heroes’
Speaking after Wednesday’s game, Pochettino described his players as “heroes”.
“I am more than happy, I am more than proud,” he said. “To be in the semis was a dream. Now we are there. My players are heroes.”
Pochettino said victory ranked as “one of the most best” of his managerial career.
“It is unbelievable to be in the Champions League in the quarter-final and beat Man City because in both legs it was very competitive and both legs were even,” he added.
“To score three goals here was not easy. In a game that is like a final, it is difficult to see Manchester City concede the goals they conceded today.”
Asked if his side could win the Champions League, Pochettino said: “Today we show and last week against Manchester City that all is possible in football.
“Sport always gives you the possibility to beat teams that no-one believes or thinks we are capable of.
“Football is not only about talent but belief and to have the right mentality. This team has the personality, character and mentality to believe all is possible.
“With the quality, we can have this type of performance and achieve these big things. If not, it’s impossible.”
‘That is why we love football’
Pochettino said he went through a mixture of emotions during the final moments of the City match as “No goal, VAR, offside” flashed up on the big screen to confirm that Sterling’s goal had been overturned.
“In a moment many things happened in your head and the disappointment was massive, but they changed the decision,” the Argentine said.
“That is why we love football. Today we showed great character and great personality. It was an unbelievable game.”
Despite having been a critic of VAR, Pochettino said: “You have to trust the VAR when it is against or for you.
“The decision to include VAR in football is going to change the game.”
Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, who gave the visitors a surprise early lead with two goals in three minutes after Sterling’s opener, said it was an unforgettable game.
However, the South Korean will miss the first leg of the semi-final after picking up a yellow card in Manchester.
“I have never seen something like this,” said Son. “It was tough and crazy but we are very proud of our team-mates. It was madness.”
Midfielder Christian Eriksen said he “must be one of the luckiest guys on the planet”, referring to Sterling’s late goal being ruled out after the Dane’s misplaced pass gave possession away.
“I thought it was over,” said Eriksen. “Thank god the ref gave offside.”