The savvy Italians largely resisted Spurs’ youth and energy before two goals in four second-half minutes secured a 2-1 victory at Wembley and the 4-3 aggregate advantage that took them into the competition’s quarter-finals.
Pochettino’s team led at half-time after Son Hueng-min‘s third goal in two games, but having been fortunate not to concede a penalty for Jan Vertonghen’s challenge on Douglas Costa, succumbed to finishes from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.
Harry Kane‘s 90th-minute header was cleared off the line by Andrea Barzagli after it bounced off the post as Juve otherwise absorbed late pressure, but asked if they had been given a tough lesson, the Spurs manager responded: “All that we are going to talk about now is rubbish. In the end it’s win or lose.
“(There was) no lack of experience. No lack of concentration. How many chances did we concede in the first leg and the second leg? We concede three chances and they scored twice. We created a lot of chances and only scored once.
“We created many, many chances. Sometimes you need some luck to win but I feel very proud. We competed very well against a very good team like Juventus. We dominated. Overall in the two games we were much better but in this type of level in three minutes I think the tie was for Juventus.
“I feel relaxed and happy. Disappointed of course, but the quality and the capacity and performance of the team was very good.”
Pochettino, 46, was then asked if having previously described himself as a “dreamer”, going so close to reaching the quarter-finals and missing out represented a nightmare, and he said: “A nightmare? Why?
“That is football, eh? I am still a dreamer. Of course I am disappointed. (But) when you compete in the Champions League and against this type of club, you can win or you can lose.
“We create a lot of chances but it wasn’t enough to win the game. That is all.”
Victory means Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve remain on course for their third Champions League final in four years.
The Italian’s change of shape inspired their second-half recovery, just days after they regained the initiative from Napoli in their pursuit of a seventh successive Serie A title, but even in such a positive week the Italian insisted they had “suffered”.
“We did suffer a lot, but that’s normal in football,”, said Allegri, 50. “We’re really happy.
“They put us under pressure, most of all when we lost the ball, but after all Tottenham are a quality side, so the team has done really well here.
“We did very well to bide our time and strike at the right moment. We were under the cosh at times in the first half, but only at certain moments.”
City suffered a first home defeat in 15 months as the Swiss champions came from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium and salvage some pride from their last-16 tie after being thrashed 4-0 on home turf in the first leg three weeks ago.
“From tomorrow we will be happy to be in the quarter-finals for the second time in this club’s history. We are new in that position, so we are so happy for that,” said Guardiola.
“Even the first half was quite good, in the second half we forgot to attack, we forgot to play.
“Just to pass to pass for itself is nothing, so the second half was really, really poor.”
Guardiola could afford the luxury of making six changes from Sunday’s dominant 1-0 win over Chelsea, but still saw his side extend their aggregate advantage early on when Gabriel Jesus tapped home after just eight minutes.
However, Mohamed Elyounoussi exposed some slack City defending to smash in an equaliser for the visitors nine minutes later before Michael Lang rocketed home a spectacular winner 19 minutes from time.
“It’s special for us to beat this team and we go out of the Champions League with a decent performance in a very difficult situation,” said Basel coach Raphael Wicky.
City could have the Premier League mathematically wrapped up by the time they are next in Champions League action in early April.
And on this evidence they will need the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to be well-rested and in-form if they are to deliver the dream of their Abu Dhabi owners by winning the European Cup for a first time as a number of youngsters and fringe players failed to impress.
“I understand after we see the second half the people that say the team is not ready to fight for everything,” added Guardiola.
However, the Catalan coach hopes a three-week break following Monday’s trip to Stoke will leave his side refreshed for the last eight.
“We are in the quarter-finals, that is the good news, and after we will see how we will arrive in the quarter-finals.
“We have one more game on Monday and then we have three weeks off. (Due to the international break, City’s next game is not till March 31 against Everton.) In 180 minutes it is 5-2, so we are so happy to be in the next stage.”
Leroy Sane was one of few regular starters retained in Guardiola’s starting XI and continued his supreme form by creating the opener.
Jesus hadn’t started since suffering knee ligament damage on New Year’s Eve, but had the simplest of tasks to get back among the goals when Bernardo Silva latched onto Sane’s pass to produce a inch-perfect low cross for the Brazilian.
City should have gone even further in front as Silva’s shot from a dangerous Sane cut-back was blocked before Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik made a fine block to deny Ilkay Gundogan his third goal of the tie.
However, a minute later Basel were level as Blas Riveros burst down the left and his deflected cross was dispatched powerfully past Claudio Bravo by Elyounoussi.
Guardiola grew visibly frustrated on the touchline as his side also started the second period slowly.
And they were punished when Elyounoussi’s low cross was blasted past Bravo at his near post from a narrow angle by Lang.
Two identical results in the Champions League on Wednesday night had vastly different impact. While Manchester City‘s 2-1 loss at home to Basel was inconsequential – though no less impressive, from the Swiss champions’ point of view – Spurs’ home loss to Juventus by the same scoreline meant their European campaign ended in heartbreak.
In both matches, the English side took the lead before losing, with Spurs’ inability to hold their advantage costing them a place in the quarterfinals.
Here are Seven Deadly Stats from Wednesday’s matches.
THE SCOURGE OF ENGLAND
Basel boast a proud record against English sides over recent seasons. Just beating Manchester City away from home is an achievement in itself, but for the Swiss side, it simply kept up a track record of success against the Premier League’s best.
Since 2013, Basel have now won individual matches against Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool & Chelsea, plus defeated Tottenham over 2 legs.— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 7, 2018
They have ended Man City's run of 36 home games without defeat #UCL pic.twitter.com/v7GWH5fxuh
JUVE’S ONE-TWO PUNCH KNOCKS OUT TOTTENHAM
Spurs had one foot in the door of the quarter-finals after dominating Juventus in the first-half and taking a 1-0 lead. Even at the hour mark, they looked in control. But seven minutes later, they were down and out.
02:49 - Juventus have scored with their first two shots on target in this match, with just two minutes & 49 seconds separating the two goals. Quickfire. #TOTJUV— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 7, 2018
CITY PASS, PASS, PASS, BUT LOSE
City produced a repeat of Sunday’s performance against Chelsea in one way – their passing stat was yet again a record. Of course, it meant much less on Wednesday as Basel took the victory anyway, which just goes to show how poor Chelsea were.
978 - Manchester City completed 978 passes tonight; the most recorded by a side in a Champions League match since 2003-04 (when we have this data available from), three days after having the most in a Premier League game (902 v Chelsea). Robotic.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 7, 2018
ALLEGRI GETS HIS REVENGE
Massimiliano Allegri was the opposing manager the last time Spurs won their Round of 16 tie – back in 2011, when Tottenham beat Allegri’s side 1-0 on aggregate, winning the away leg before drawing at home. Revenge is sweet.
Massimiliano Allegri has now beaten Tottenham as a manager for the first time in his career:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 7, 2018
Hex broken. pic.twitter.com/XwVQBzCVcU
LAPORTE, THE PERFECT PEP SIGNING
There’s a reason Pep Guardiola pursued Aymeric Laporte for so long before finally signing him. The Manchester City defender’s ability on the ball stood out yet again on Wednesday. If only he and his fellow defenders hadn’t conceded twice.
HIGUAIN FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
Everyone thinks Gonzalo Higuain is the sort of player who wilts under pressure, and for a good part of his career, that criticism could easily be justified. Not anymore. When Juventus needed him most, he delivered, yet again.
Gonzalo Higuaín: Has scored five goals in his last five Champions League knockout matches, three more than he managed in his previous 24 matches #UCL— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 7, 2018
AN UNLIKELY PAIR
City’s dominance at home is such that it’s difficult for opposing sides to even get a sniff, making Basel’s feat on Wednesday all the more impressive. They ended City’s 36-game home unbeaten run and joined a surprise club by scoring twice.