By any reckoning, it was an unusual way to celebrate. Mauricio Pochettino reached for a Halloween cookie that had been baked by his wife, Karina, and a dram of the Japanese whisky that had been a present from his assistant, Jesús Pérez. And he tried to process what had happened.

It was late on Wednesday night, Pochettino’s Tottenham had just beaten Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley in the Champions League – the most eye-catching result of his managerial career – and he was back at home, alone with his thoughts and little treats. Pochettino clicked on a phone message from Pérez, the man he describes as his brother and who can generally be relied upon for perspective and profound comment. It began to sink in.

“Jesús sent me a very kind message,” Pochettino says. “Sometimes, we don’t stop to realise what we are doing, but, in that moment, it touched me. I just messaged him back to say: ‘Thank you. You are a craque. You are top.’ I took a Halloween cookie and a bit of whisky and I put my iPad on the bed. I listened to some Spanish radio about politics in Catalonia. Then, I went to sleep.”

Pochettino feels that a part of him will forever be in Catalonia; he lived in Barcelona during his time as a player and the manager of Espanyol. He has closely followed the situation in the region, as has Pérez, who was born in Barcelona.

But since Thursday morning, Pochettino has been sucked in by football politics. Tottenham’s humbling of a team that was already on the edge of crisis sent the Madrid media into meltdown and you know how it goes from here. The day before the game, Pochettino had predicted that Dele Alli’s best form was coming. The attacking midfielder would be the hero against Real, scoring two goals.