Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino FUMES ahead of Borussia Dortmund Champions League clash
While Spurs’ Champions League opponents Borussia Dortmund were allowed to bring forward their game against Augsburg to Friday, Tottenham must do without Kieran Trippier at the Westfalen Stadium on Tuesday night after he failed to recover from the north London derby just three days earlier.
Moreover, Pochettino is worried that despite their 3-0 lead he has not had time to prepare properly for the clash and puts the blame squarely at the feet of the football authorities and their fixture scheduling.
“We need help from the Premier League,” he said. “I don’t now because I am not involved in the decisions.
“Look, Dortmund played on Friday, but for us that was impossible.
“We played, Sunday and then played the first leg on Wednesday, now we have played on Saturday when Dortmund play Friday.
“And look what happened with Rennes in the Europa League. They cancelled their game at the weekend to help or provide Rennes to play against Arsenal.
“In Europe, the various FAs are more sensitive to helping the club to compete in the best way in Europe.”
Despite having more teams reach the knockout stages than any other country in the past five years, English clubs have only won a third of their games in the second part of the Champions League.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs are looking to make it to the Champions League quarter finals
Harry Kane scored his penalty against Arsenal on Saturday
Italy, France and Germany, who reschedule games to support their teams, have all reached the 50-50 mark while Spain continue to dominate by winning 77 per cent of their heads to head.
“I don’t know whether to blame the Premier League, or to blame Tottenham because we changed the day because we still have not delivered our new stadium, or the TV because they wanted us to play live on Saturday,” Pochettino continued. “It is difficult for me to answer that question.
“Maybe we need to blame ourselves because we struggled to deal with this type of thing. But of course that is not fair for the players, for the team to compete with a massive disadvantage.
“24 or 48 hours is massive. I would only like to play in the same situation as our opponents. That is the most important, you have the same day to prepare for the game.
“Otherwise, that is not fair and it is a problem that in the future it is a thing we need to change if we want to help the English clubs be stronger in the competition. It’s difficult and going to be more difficult.”
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino admitted to feeling pride after his half-time team-talk at the north London derby was described by Danny Rose as “the best thing he had seen in football”.
However, it will be actions that speak louder than words in Dortmund on Tuesday night as Tottenham must show the mettle to keep the jitters at bay and avoid the disaster that befell them almost three years ago to the day.
The 3-0 defeat in the Europa League is part of what Pochettino sees as his squad’s coming of age – the transformation he has nurtured from a team struggling to get into the Champions League to one that harbours secret dreams even of winning it.
Pochettino cut a disgruntled figure in the post-match interview
That, of course, is a long way down the line and will involve a huge slice of luck of the draw. But that is the belief Pochettino is now able to plant in the minds of his players.
“It makes me feel very proud to hear Danny say that,” he said at his pre-match press conference. “The message we wanted to translate was for a massive effort in the second half.
“Always the coaches we not only try to provide players with best tools, with the motivational side too and if they got the message in the way he explained it’s a beautiful thing. If they felt that I feel proud.”
According to Rose, the rhetoric was much more uplifting than the ear-bashing served up to Dortmund’s players by their consultant and former club legend Matthias Sammer after Friday’s 2-1 defeat to relegation-threatened Augsburg.
“The players are immature,” Sammer told Eurosport. “Games like this are won in your head, not on the pitch.
Trippier hasn’t seen a return to his best form as of yet
“It’s not that they don’t want it, it’s just that you feel that some of them are fighting for their lives, while others just think it would be nice to win the game.”
England international Jadon Sancho was among those singled out for criticism despite setting the Bundesliga alight earlier in the season.
Inevitably, all eyes will be on the 18-year-old again on Tuesday evening, although Tottenham defender Ben Davies, the man charged with the responsibility of trying to keep him quiet, was adamant that no special plans to deal with him had been laid down on the training ground.
“From what I have seen, heard and read he has been excellent out there,” he said. “We don’t get to watch too many of the games live but when you look at his stats, they’re unbelievable for a player who couldn’t get in his first team in England.
Tottenham will want to watch out for Jadon Sancho when they play Dortmund in Germany
“To have the guts and willingness to go out to Germany to prove himself is not easy – there are not too many youngsters who would have done that.
“But we don’t do too much work on our opponents. The work we do is mainly focused on our performance.
“At this level you play against top players every week so you have to prepare yourself in exactly the same way for whoever you’re coming up against. Sancho is a top player but we are confident he is someone we will be able to deal with.”
The message, then, that Pochettino will be preaching when he stands in front of his players will be a simple one then.
Son scored the opening goal at Wembley in the first leg
Forget the first leg lead – just go out and win.
“We need to forget the first leg, be focused and try to beat Dortmund here again,” the Tottenham manager said. “That must be our approach.
“We need to go to the pitch and not think only about the first leg, only to have a very good performance, a very professional performance and try to win the game.
“It’s so important to be aggressive, to start the game in a very good level, fight from beginning, high tempo, that is going to be the key.”