Monday 23 September 2019

5 reasons Tottenham should be confident in the Champions League

Spurs still have hopes of reaching the last 16.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino feels his side can get the result they need away to Barcelona. (John Walton/PA Wire)
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino feels his side can get the result they need away to Barcelona. (John Walton/PA Wire)

By Jim van Wijk, Press Association Sport

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his side can head to Barcelona to deliver the result needed to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

Pochettino’s men must match or better Inter Milan’s result when the Italians host PSV Eindhoven on December 11 if they are to progress from the group stages.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five reasons to be confident of qualifying when they head to the Nou Camp.

Barca in cruise control

After winning 2-1 away to PSV, Spanish giants Barcelona made sure of top spot in Group B, and with it seeding for the knock-out stages. With the pressure off, Ernesto Valverde could use the European fixture, essentially a dead rubber for them, to give some of his key men a rest – and not having to face Lionel Messi in the starting XI would certainly lift belief in the Spurs dressing room.

Inter need to complete the Italian job

After failing to hold out for a draw at Wembley, the pressure is now on Inter to deliver against PSV. Spurs have the edge on the Italians with a better head-to-head record over their two games, by virtue of having scored more away goals in their 2-1 defeat. Given the margins are so small, any error from Inter will play in Spurs’ favour – so long as they manage to avoid a heavy beating themselves.

Dutch courage

Mark van Bommel’s side can no longer qualify, and are cast adrift at the bottom of the group, so will not have the fallback of Europa League football. However, PSV gave Barca plenty of concern on Wednesday night, hitting the woodwork three times during the first half. The Dutch side will be able to play without any pressure – and could just give Inter a few things to worry about, which would in turn be good news for Spurs.

Game-changers on song

Christian Eriksen came off the bench to fire Spurs’ late winner against Inter, which provided the perfect response to finding himself out of the starting line-up. Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were all on target in Saturday’s impressive Premier League win over Chelsea – giving Pochettino plenty of options for their crunch trip to Barcelona.

Learn from England’s Young Lions

Spurs forward Harry Kane, left, got the better of Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, right, while on international duty (Nick Potts/PA Archive)

Both Kane and Spurs midfielder Eric Dier were in the England side which produced a memorable and historic victory in Spain last month, upsetting the odds to win their Nations League encounter 3-2. Records are there to be broken and Spurs can take inspiration to write their own chapter in the club’s folklore by pulling off the unexpected at the Nou Camp.

PA Media

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