Tottenham Hotspur manager, Antonio Conte, has admitted he was “scared” when Harry Kane missed a penalty against Frankfurt on Wednesday night.
Conte was a relieved man after his side survived a late lapse in concentration to seize control of their Champions League destiny.
“It would have been a disaster if we drew a game like this,” he said after Spurs came back from behind to lead 3-1, but ended up clinging on against 10 men.
“We have to stay focused until the end. We scored good goals. We suffered. We had to try to handle the situation. We had to stay in the game. We must take a lesson from this.”
Tottenham were careless in defence in the opening stages when they made mistakes, including a heavy touch by Eric Dier in his own penalty area, which allowed Daichi Kamada to fire Eintracht Frankfurt into the lead.
Then they stormed ahead before half-time with two goals from Son Heung-min and a penalty scored by Harry Kane after a foul on Son.
Eintracht were reduced to 10 men when their Brazilian defender Tuta was sent off on the hour for his second yellow card in a matter of minutes, but Conte’s team lost focus, conceding a second from a corner in the closing stages, when the tie was disrupted by substitutions.
Then Kane missed the second penalty of the night, one that would have restored the two-goal cushion.
‘When we missed the penalty I was a bit scared,’ said Conte. ‘I thought anything can happen now.
‘It’s a pity about the final part. It was a really good performance but we must take a big lesson. Not only the players but myself because I tried also to exploit this situation, giving rest to the players and those who had a yellow card.
‘Everyone thought it was over, even the fans. But the game finishes with the final whistle. We made a big mistake. We conceded a corner and they score, then we had the opportunity to score and we missed the penalty.
‘There was a positive aspect and then there was the negative aspect but for us it will be a great achievement to go to the next round because this was our target.’
Victory takes Tottenham to the top of a tight Group D and they will qualify for the last 16 if they beat Sporting in their game Champions League fixture, at home in two weeks.