Tottenham Hotspur vs Ajax Amsterdam - Pochettino ‘living the dream’

Posted Tuesday, April 30, 2019 by PA

Tottenham Hotspur vs Ajax Amsterdam - Pochettino ‘living the dream’

Mauricio Pochettino is “living his dream” by taking Tottenham to the Champions League semi-final, but is still thinking even bigger.

Spurs host Ajax in Tuesday’s first leg having reached the last four of this competition for the first time in the Champions League era.

It has been an unexpected journey for them this season after getting past Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in the knockout rounds, and far ahead of Pochettino’s brief when he took the job five years ago.

The Argentinian was only expected to get the club challenging to be in the top four by the time they moved into their new stadium, but now they are one tie away from a Champions League final.

“I am living my dream, I am already living it – to be in the semi-final with Tottenham,” Pochettino said.

“It was a dream five years ago and we are living it.

“Always you must dream with the moon, if you want to get something from the sky. You need to set your dreams to infinity and beyond.

“When you are ambitious and want to achieve big things you need to dream. I was always a dreamer.

“When I was very young I dreamed in my hometown in Murphy (in Santa Fe) one day to be a football player and I achieved it.

“It was tough to achieve all that I dreamed but I believe there is power in your mind when you are determined to achieve.

“If you achieve things it is because you dream, when you dream you have it in your mind and then you can get it.”

“My first meeting was in his house and he was without shoes, like in his pyjamas but it was in the afternoon,” the Argentinian said.

A packed fixture schedule and injuries have dogged Tottenham’s build-up.

Key attacking players Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are missing through injury and suspension respectively while Harry Winks is another key miss in midfield.

Pochettino accepted his side struggled with “stress and fatigue” in the 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Saturday, but insists the occasion of a Champions League semi-final can carry his side through.

“It must be important. The energy, the semi-final, the chance to play a semi-final for Tottenham does not happen often,” he added.

“We are in circumstances that are impossible to change and we must be ready.

“It’s a game where it’s impossible to tire, it’s impossible not to be excited to play. It’s all mental.

“The energy is going to be there, no doubt we are going to have the energy to play 90 minutes and give our best.

“But then it’s football and we need to accept that football is a sport that you must be focused and be better than the opponent and show more quality if you’re going to win.”

Ajax manager Erik Ten Hag has pointed towards the television money Tottenham receive as a reason why their Premier League game at the weekend was not cancelled.

The Dutch side had their Eredivisie fixture called off to give them maximum preparation time for the semi-final, while Spurs played the Hammers.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino called it “not fair” but Ten Hag turned the tables.

“I can’t really say a lot about that”, he said of Pochettino’s claim.

“There are always different circumstances, we get 10million (euros) (£8.6m) from TV, they get a lot more, is that still unfair for them or for us? Everyone has different circumstances.”

The Dutch team, who had to come through qualification for the Champions League, have surprised many by reaching this stage, especially considering their opponents in the knockout stages have been Real Madrid and Juventus.

Ten Hag said: “We want to continue this curve.

“It’s amazing that we are in the Champions League semi-finals. Nobody could have predicted at the beginning of the season that a Dutch team would end up in the Champions League semi-finals.”

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