Tottenham Hotspur Manager Mauricio Pochettino discussed the Champions League Round of 16 second-leg between Tottenham and Juventus at a Press Conference today.
Pochettino’s Spurs side are in the driving seat ahead of tomorrow’s highly anticipated second-leg as they drew 2-2 at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium in the first-leg.
Pochettino started his press conference by offering his condolences to Davide Astori, the Fiorentina Captain passed away in his sleep on Sunday and the world of football is in mourning.
“I want to send my condolences to the Astori family and all the people who love him, I had the possibility to meet him three years ago and had the chance to sign him at Southampton and spent three hours with him, over lunch.
“We share the pain. I want to send all my energy to his family. For me it was like for everyone, it’s remembering everything in my mind with Dani Jarque when I was manager of Espanyol. It’s so difficult to find the explanation. It’s so difficult. It’s impossible to understand these type of things”.
Pochettino then discussed the first-leg and praised both Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain and Tottenham’s Harry Kane. The Spurs Manager also warned about the threat that Juventus’ Paulo Dybala poses to his team.
“The first leg? The team was suffering because of the shock of the first goal. After that the team played so well and of course you need some luck. For him to miss the penalty was a massive boost for us. We are ready to compete and ready to enjoy.
“I think he is one of the greatest strikers in the world. One of the best with Harry Kane. We played there and he was on the pitch, we know it’s very difficult to stop a player like this, like Messi and Dybala. We must be careful with him but also all the players we are going to play tomorrow.
“It’s a great chance to go through. Every game we show our true face, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. It’s been step by step, a little step every season. You can see the team is more mature. We are going to enjoy tomorrow. We know very well we are playing one of the best teams in Europe but we are a brave team and very positive people.
“We need to think that we can win, we always think in this way. Then what happens will be the consequence. If we are able to play in the way we normally do then we will be close to winning. 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.
“It’s true that when you are going to play in this type of competition, for me the most important competition after the World Cup, you feel the atmosphere is different. People are focused but maybe a little bit more excited. You feel it’s not the same as another competition”.
Pochettino commented on his Tottenham’s sides chances of progressing tomorrow and praised Juventus.
“We have a big possibility of progressing, but in football we know you have to deserve it. 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”.