Monday 26 September 2016

Tottenham have reached a new level - Pochettino

John Percy

Published 10/03/2016 | 02:30

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham side face a difficult encounter with Borussia Dortmund Photo: Reuters / Stefan Wermuth
Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham side face a difficult encounter with Borussia Dortmund Photo: Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

Mauricio Pochettino will rack up his 100th game in charge insisting Tottenham Hotspur are "stronger than before", as he prepares for a daunting challenge against Borussia Dortmund.

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Pochettino is convinced that Spurs are operating on a different level in his second full season and wants his players to underline their progress at the home of the European heavyweights.

Spurs face their biggest test in the Europa League so far against Dortmund, who have scored 61 goals in 19 home games this season and are challenging Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title.

Dortmund are also unbeaten this year and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is emerging as a £25m (€32.2m) target for Manchester City, with incoming manager Pep Guardiola preparing to revamp his squad. Yet Pochettino believes Spurs have made huge strides forward since his appointment in May 2014, claiming the disappointment after their 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Saturday was proof of their development.

"It is a very good challenge against Dortmund but we are in a key moment and we are stronger than before," he said.

"Arsenal were on a different level a few years ago and a draw in a big derby was a good result - but now when you only draw with Arsenal it's a good thing to be disappointed.

"We have changed our mentality and it was a game we should have won. But we have shown we can compete in this level against Arsenal.

"We can always improve but we are in a good period. Now my players are excited to play Dortmund and all is positive."

Spurs will be without two key players however, with Dele Alli suspended and Eric Dier rested. Pochettino has selected strong line-ups for most of his side's games in Europe this season and is expected to do the same tonight.

Telegraph.co.uk

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