Champions League

Pochettino says energised Spurs ready for Dortmund test

2019-02-12 19:28
Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino (Getty Images)

London - Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham have shaken off the fatigue from their gruelling schedule as they prepare to face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

Pochettino was frustrated that Tottenham had to play their Premier League match against Leicester on Sunday, while Dortmund were in action 24 hours earlier against Hoffenheim.

The Tottenham boss claimed over the weekend that the extra day of rest for the Bundesliga leaders could put his team at a "massive disadvantage" in the first leg at Wembley.

Adding to Pochettino's frustration, Dortmund have also benefited from a refreshing winter break, while Tottenham have been damaged by injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli following the draining Christmas and New Year programme.

But, aware of the dangers of giving his players a ready-made excuse for under-performing, Pochettino was keen to accentuate the positive.

"I've described before, or in the last few days, that it was a little bit unfair (the schedule)," Pochettino told reporters on Tuesday.

"But that is not an excuse (not) to arrive tomorrow in our best condition and fight to try to win. I think you can feel in the eyes of the players the energy."

Tottenham beat Dortmund twice in the Champions League group stage last season but they will face more formidable opponents this time.

Dortmund sit on top of the Bundesliga with a vibrant squad including young England forward Jadon Sancho.

Pochettino is well aware of the threat posed by the Germans as he tries to lead Tottenham into the quarter-finals of a European competition for the first time in his five-year reign.

But, despite the absence of Kane and Alli, they have reeled off four successive wins to stay in the Premier League title race.

And Pochettino expects his side to rise to the occasion in the same never-say-die style they displayed in the group stage this term.

It took late goals against PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan and Barcelona for Tottenham to make the last 16 by the skin of their teeth.

"We were talking in the meeting before and it's completely different (in big games)," Pochettino said.

"If you ask me why, I don't know, because I'm a person whose own motivation is always high, when we play against Dortmund or Barcelona or we play against different (teams) in different competitions.

"But of course you can feel that it's the Champions League, that it's going to be a massive game with, I hope, a full stadium at Wembley and of course the energy and motivation is going to be there."

Meanwhile, Dortmund's flight was briefly delayed en route to London after Sancho forgot his passport.

Sancho has burst into the limelight for Dortmund this season as his decision to quit Manchester City pays off in a big way.

But the 18-year-old will want to forget the first part of his return to England.

The flight was only delayed by 17 minutes, however that didn't stop his team-mate Thomas Delaney having fun at Sancho's expense.

"It might cost us a bit of money, but most of the guys didn't notice," he joked.

Delaney says Sancho is still developing, but he believes the starlet is already good enough to cause problems for any team.

"Jadon is a big, big talent, with talent comes opportunities and he has them for sure," he said.

"But he is still 18 years old and he has done amazing. He is not where he is supposed to be, he is a rough diamond, he will get there.

"I feel responsible for keeping him on the ground. Now we are in England and you are world famous for hyping your players."

 

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Fixtures
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Club Brugge v Galatasaray, Jan Breydel Stadion 18:55
Olympiacos v Tottenham Hotspur, Karaiskakis Stadium 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Red Star Belgrade, Allianz Arena 21:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Lokomotiv Moscow, BayArena 21:00
Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta, Maksimir Stadium 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Metalist Stadium 21:00
Paris SG v Real Madrid, Parc des Princes 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Juventus, Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
Tuesday, 01 October 2019
Atalanta v Shakhtar Donetsk, San Siro 18:55
Real Madrid v Club Brugge, Santiago Bernabeu 18:55
Juventus v Bayer Leverkusen, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Dinamo Zagreb, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Lokomotiv Moscow v Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Stadium 21:00
Red Star Belgrade v Olympiacos, Stadion Rajko Mitic 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Munchen, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Paris SG, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 02 October 2019
Slavia Prague v Borussia Dortmund, Eden Arena 18:55
Genk v Napoli, Luminus Arena 18:55
Liverpool v Red Bull Salzburg, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Inter Milan, Camp Nou 21:00
Valencia v Ajax, Mestalla 21:00
RB Leipzig v Lyon, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Zenit St. Petersburg v Benfica, Saint Petersburg Stadium 21:00
Lille v Chelsea, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb, Metalist Stadium 18:55
Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, Wanda Metropolitano 18:55
Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Atalanta, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Club Brugge v Paris SG, Jan Breydel Stadion 21:00
Olympiacos v Bayern Munchen, Karaiskakis Stadium 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Real Madrid, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Ajax v Chelsea, Amsterdam ArenA 18:55
RB Leipzig v Zenit St. Petersburg, Red Bull Arena 18:55
Benfica v Lyon, da Luz 21:00
Slavia Prague v Barcelona, Eden Arena 21:00
Genk v Liverpool, Luminus Arena 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Inter Milan v Borussia Dortmund, San Siro 21:00
Lille v Valencia, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 05 November 2019
Barcelona v Slavia Prague, Camp Nou 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v RB Leipzig, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Genk, Anfield 22:00
Lyon v Benfica, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Valencia v Lille, Mestalla 22:00
Napoli v Red Bull Salzburg, San Paolo 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Inter Milan, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Ajax, Stamford Bridge 22:00
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