Mauricio Pochettino has taken charge of 22 Champions League matches in his career against the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, and Inter Milan.
According to the man himself, none stack up to this week’s meeting with fellow Premier League giants Manchester City in the quarterfinals.
When asked if Tuesday’s game should be billed as the biggest of his life, Pochettino responded affirmatively. “Yes, as a coach. Yes. This is going to be one of the most important games.”
Pochettino then looked to try and downplay the significance of the match, saying Spurs had already reached their goals for the Champions League this season, claiming the rest is icing on the cake. “For us, it is a bonus to play in the quarter-finals. We are going to try to beat them. The [current] objective is to be in the semi-finals but it is going to be tough because Manchester City are a very good team and we respect them.”
The Argentinian hoped that the game brings out the best of the new stadium, and that while the full debut of the venue has passed, the honeymoon phase continues in full force. “We want to start tomorrow being very aggressive and try to dominate,” Pochettino said. “We have had time to prepare for the game. It is our second game in our new stadium and the first in the Champions League so we hope the atmosphere is amazing and tough for our opponent.”
Pochettino conceded that Manchester City has the deeper and more talented squad, especially given City’s return to health with Sergio Aguero, Benjamin Mendy, and Kyle Walker all expected to be fit for the match. “We must match their desire. The thing we cannot match is when we talk about talent but it going to be 11 versus 11 and I hope my team is going to be better than them.”