UCL preview: Kovac praises Spurs; Pep’s UCL ‘seduction’

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino may be in a tough spot right now, but the boss of Tuesday’s opposition in the Champions League sees him as one of the world’s great successes.

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac says Pochettino and his Spurs are a tale worth telling.

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“In my opinion Tottenham have a very positive light in European football, they are now able to compete with the very big teams, even if it didn’t look that way seven or eight years ago,” said the manager of the Bundesliga leaders. “They have continuity, he was given time and he has done a great job and that is an example for others.”

In UCL play, Spurs are coming off a draw in Greece against Olympiacos while Bayern handled Red Star Belgrade and has a chance to put something close to a chokehold on the group with an away with in North London.

Spurs got a gutty win over Southampton at the weekend and will hope they’ve turned the corner. Pochettino feels his men need to keep battling through non-ideal form.

“You need to know that there will be periods when you are not as good as you expect,” he said, via Football.London. “The most important is the belief and spirit. Of course many things can affect that day by day at the club, or in the team, but it’s to have a clear idea of who you are and where you are. Where we want to arrive is the most important and stick with that, working hard.”

The other PL club in action on Tuesday is Manchester City, and Pep Guardiola is hoping he can get his fans to buy into the tournament as they host Dinamo Zagreb.

Guardiola said he wants a fired up Etihad Stadium, but admits that his fans don’t value the UCL as much as the PL.

“I know for the fans it’s the Premier League that’s most exciting,” Guardiola said. “We know that as a club, we’ve done polls, and the people prefer by far to win the Premier League than the Champions League. I know how special it is. But this competition is nice too. They have to live it as a dream. Nine times in a row we’ve been in it and that is top.

“It’s a reality of our club, we have to accept it. We have to seduce them so they realize how it’s important. I think it’s because in the past, a whole generation, they were not there in this competition at our club, Liverpool and United – with their trophies, they are used to it.”

UCL Tuesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET kickoffs
Atalanta v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Real Madrid v. Club Brugge

3 p.m. ET
Man City v. Dinamo Zagreb
Red Star Belgrade v. Olympiacos
Lokomotiv Moscow v. Atletico Madrid
Tottenham Hotspur v. Bayern Munich
Juventus v. Bayer Leverkusen
Galatasaray v. Paris Saint-Germain