Pochettino urges Tottenham to grasp European chance

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Tottenham Hotspur have only reached the last eight of the UEFA Champions League once in their history.

If they get a win or a 0-0 or 1-1 draw on Tuesday against Juventus at Wembley Stadium, they will advance from the UEFA Champions League last 16.

Following their 2-2 draw in Turin in the first leg, Spurs picked up  plenty of plaudits from across Europe as Mauricio Pochettino‘s players dominated the Italian champions who have been the runners up in two of the last three Champions League tournaments.

Speaking to the media ahead of Wednesday’s monster clash, Pochettino urged his players to make the most of this chance.

“In front we have a big possibility, but in football we know you have to deserve it,” Pochettino said. “We are going to play a team that has played in two of the last three finals. It will be a fantastic battle. Only think about tomorrow and not the consequences. We need to feel free. At the end of the season we will see. I am confident that the team is mature enough… We are going to enjoy tomorrow. We are playing against one of the best teams in Europe, but we are a brave team, positive people, that love the challenge and we all think we can win.”

Tottenham finished the group stage with the best record of any team in the competition and with Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli ripping teams apart in attack, their entire team is receiving plaudits from across Europe for their high-pressing brand of soccer.

Pochettino believes that Spurs’ reputation is at an all-time high.

“After the group stage it’s not only that it was a fantastic stage but that we improved our reputation in Europe,” Pochettino said. “Last season was a massive disappointment to be out in the first stage, but this year of course the people in Europe start to respect Tottenham. They respect the philosophy we build and the football we play. We feel we have respect for the brand of football we show, they respect us in Europe we feel.”

With Toby Alderweireld the only real absentee through injury, Spurs will go into this Juventus clash without trepidation despite Juve’s superior experience at this stage of the competition.

You feel that the best way Spurs can make it through the last eight is to start fast and score early to put away any nerves that Juve may put on a defensive masterclass and snatch a 1-0 win which will take them through. With Pablo Dybala and Blaise Matuidi back for this game Max Allegri’s side will have more options, but it is Spurs who are the favorites to make it through.

Now, all they have to do is hold their nerve and stay positive.

That is exactly what Pochettino is preaching.