Optus Sport expert Michael Bridges gives his thoughts after an unbelievable week of European football.
Last week I ended off my column with the wise words “next week’s action will be even more thrilling than this week’s,” and even I’m a little surprised at how accurate that statement was. But amongst all the justified hype over Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gini Wijnaldum and Lucas Moura’s performances, to me it's the remarkable evolution of the Premier League manager that is the real story here.
Thanks to Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and of course Mauricio Pochettino, the beautiful game has become even more beautiful over the past few seasons.
While the English teams may not stroke the ball around in the same metronomic triangular style that Barcelona and Ajax displayed in their respective Champions League semi-finals, the Premier League sides instead aspired for practical and effective football. And the results speak for themselves.
As Tottenham trailed 3-0 on aggregate at the half-time break in Amsterdam, Mauricio Pochettino threw on Fernando Llorente in a last ditch attempt to salvage an unlikely result. All of a sudden, Ajax defenders like Matthijs De Ligt and Daley Blind looked entirely uncomfortable.