Now, we’re not saying Mauricio Pochettino has already lined up an excuse if Tottenham somehow blow a 3-0 lead at Borussia Dortmund today, but it sure does sound like it…
Ahead of Spurs’ UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg clash at Dortmund on Tuesday, their manager has complained about Dortmund having an extra 24 hours of rest heading into this game.
Dortmund’s game against Augsburg (which they lost 2-1) was played last Friday evening, while Spurs’ game against Arsenal came on Saturday lunchtime in the UK.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the clash at the Westfalenstadion, Pochettino urged both the English FA and Premier League to help out teams who go far in European competitions.
“It’s impossible in this type of game, the last 16 of the Champions League – with how important it is – that one team have 24 hours more than the other to prepare,” Pochettino said. “I think it is massive. I don’t understand that both clubs are not going to arrive in the same situation. It is not the same to have 24 hours more or less to prepare for the game. We must prioritize different things and we cannot work on the pitch. It is not fair for the players and for the team who compete with a massive disadvantage.
“We need help from the FA, we need help from the Premier League, and it’s true they need to be more sensitive to this type of situation. It’s difficult already and it’s going to be more difficult. Look what happened with Rennes in the Europa League. They cancelled their game at the weekend to help provide Rennes [with more time] to play against Arsenal. In Europe the FAs are more sensitive. It is a problem that we need to change if we want to help the English clubs be stronger in the competition.”
Pochettino has a point, but this is something Jose Mourinho was very fond of saying, and Arsene Wenger too.
It is true that football associations in Germany, France and Spain are quite keen to move games around to give their teams more rest ahead of big European matches, and quite why the FA and PL don’t do something similar should be looked at.
Yet after years of complaints from the likes of Wenger and Mourinho, nothing has changed and it is unlikely Pochettino’s little rant is going to change anything moving forward.
More than likely Poch probably feels like his team are running on empty after a gruelling schedule of three games a week for the past few weeks and is now hoping his side can hold firm early against Dortmund in Germany.
Two early goals for the Bundesliga leaders and all of a sudden Spurs will be struggling.