Mauricio Pochettino confident Spurs can pull off a miracle
Wins over Inter Milan and Barcelona are needed to reach last 16
Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min high fives manager Mauricio Pochettino during the Champions League win over PSV Eindhoven. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Mauricio Pochettino still believes his Tottenham side can qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League after they scraped a vital victory over PSV Eindhoven at Wembley.
With Internazionale drawing against Barcelona in the other fixture in Group B, Spurs not only have to beat Inter in three weeks but will almost certainly need to achieve a better result than the Italian club in the final matchday – when Spurs travel to the Camp Nou.
“Anything can happen,” said Pochettino. “I think there are two games to play and if we are able to beat Inter we will be with them on seven points with one game to play. We would then be going to Barcelona to try to win the game.
“ The belief is still there, now we must be focused on Saturday [when Spurs travel to Crystal Palace] and in this competition we must be focused on Inter. In Milan I think we played better than them and I think we can beat them.”
Pochettino said he was “so pleased” with his team after they came back to win late on but said that they should heed the warning of once again falling behind in the opening stages. Spurs have conceded early against Barcelona and Liverpool this season, and were 1-0 down before two minutes had been played against PSV.
“That was our fourth game in nine days and I am so pleased,” the manager added. “To concede again an early goal gave increased belief to the opponent. We created lots of chances, played well and dominated the game, but we could not score. Their keeper was fantastic but there was also a lack of clinical play in front of goal. In the end the team never gave up and we found our reward.”
Regarding the early goal, the manager said: “In the last few games it has happened a lot. But look, Barcelona conceded against Inter in the last minute. In football that can happen. We have to be focused from the beginning, be aggressive, don’t concede goals from corners. It’s important we do not concede a goal as cheap as we did today.”
If Spurs are to have a chance of qualifying they will surely have to raise their game. Asked if he thought his team need to improve against Inter, Pochettino said: “I always want more from the team. I think we need to improve. But I am also optimistic.” – Guardian service