Sunday 19 August 2018

Pochettino: We can be heroes if we complete Juve mission

Mauricio Pochettino looks on during Tottenham’s training session yesterday. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP
Mauricio Pochettino looks on during Tottenham’s training session yesterday. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP

Matt Law

Mauricio Pochettino has told his players they will be Tottenham Hotspur heroes if they beat Juventus and go all the way in the Champions League this season.

And, having drawn 2-2 in Turin, captain Hugo Lloris has urged his team-mates to grasp the opportunity offered by tonight's last-16 second leg, because it may not come around again.

Tottenham have the advantage of taking two away goals into the game at Wembley, with a place in the quarter-finals of Europe's biggest competition at stake.

Pochettino again brushed aside the theory that his team have to lift a trophy to prove their credentials, but admitted that winning silverware by beating the likes of Juventus would be particularly special.

Tottenham are competing against teams who can outspend them in both the Premier League and the Champions League, and Pochettino said: "After four years, the next step is to try to be consistently in the top four and, if we can, fight with these big sides that were on another level, by trying to be competitive with different tools.

"Trying to win one title would be fantastic for everyone and mean a lot because if we can win some trophies along the way it will be complete - different from others.

"The players would be heroes because they will have competed with these big sides and it is difficult to beat them. But we have showed in the last few seasons we can be competitive - now we need to keep going and try to be strong for the rest of the season. The faith, the belief is so important if we are to be a club who wants to compete with different tools."

Tottenham have reached the last eight of the Champions League on only one previous occasion, in 2011, which explains why goalkeeper Lloris believes this team need to take their opportunity.

"We are here, we deserve a place and we are going to fight and do everything that we can to go through. This is our spirit in every competition we are involved." said Lloris.

Tottenham earned praise from all over Europe for their performance in fighting back from 2-0 down in Turin and Pochettino believes the Champions League gives his team the perfect opportunity to raise the profile of the club.

"It's true that when you are going to play this type of competition - for me, the most important competition after the World Cup - of course you feel the atmosphere is different," Pochettino said. "People are focused but a little bit more excited. Straight away, you feel that the competition is not the same."

Reputation

Spurs beat Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund during the group stages, ahead of the draw with Juventus, and Pochettino added: "It was a fantastic group stage, we built a good reputation and improved our reputation in Europe.

"Last season I think was a massive disappointment for us, to be out in the first stage. But of course after our victories against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, and winning the group, people start to respect more Tottenham.

"We respect our football, our philosophy. We try to develop good football, the football that we love and that we feel. We have to respect the brand of football that we show, and I think in Europe, they respect us." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Tottenham v Juventus, Live RTE 2 & BT Sport , 7.45

Telegraph.co.uk

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