Amsterdam - Mauricio Pochettino says he is "living a dream" at Tottenham Hotspur
but admits beating Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals and then
going on to win the trophy would be miraculous.
Spurs are in Amsterdam for their semi-final return on Wednesday
looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit after last week's first leg in London,
when a depleted side could not recover from Donny van de Beek's early
However, after edging out Manchester City in the last round, and with
Son Heung-min back from suspension for the match at the Johan Cruyff
Arena, Tottenham are still within sight of reaching the final of
Europe's leading club competition for the first time in their history.
"We are living a dream. Five years ago when we arrived it was to
reduce the gap to the top four, and then to have the possibility to play
in the Champions League," Pochettino said at a press conference on
"I think nobody would believe we would be playing in the Champions League three seasons in a row and competing at this stage."
The Argentine, who has been in charge of the north London club since
2014, even admitted, with a glint in his eye, that if Spurs were to go
to the final in Madrid next month and win the trophy, he might "need to
think a little bit about doing something different in the future,
because to repeat this miracle..."
Just to get that far, though, they will have to find a way of beating
a spellbinding Ajax side, although the good news is that, as well as
Son, Erik Lamela is fit again and Jan Vertonghen should play too against
his old side.
The Belgian defender came off in the first leg feeling the effects of
a nasty head knock and missed his team's Premier League defeat at
Bournemouth at the weekend as a result. Despite concerns as he went off,
Tottenham said he was not concussed.
"He didn't suffer anything more than the cut on his nose. A lot of
players keep playing in the same situation. It wasn't a big issue," said
Pochettino, who is still without Harry Kane.
Tottenham have lost five of their last six games, and nine of their last 10 away matches after losing 1-0 at Bournemouth.
However, they are almost certain to pip Arsenal to a top-four finish
in the Premier League and secure a return to the Champions League next
season, with one league game still to play against Everton.
"You wouldn't believe at the start of the season that Tottenham would
be in the last week of the season with the possibility of being in the
final of the Champions League and to be in the top four," admitted
Things might have been very different, however. A 2-2 draw away to
PSV Eindhoven when they last came to the Netherlands in October left
Tottenham with just one point from three group games and staring at an
early exit from the competition.
"This season has been a success for the club but we don't want to
stop at this level," said goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who was sent off in
that match against PSV.
"We need to give the maximum and have no regrets. It is important to keep the belief because everything is possible."