Watch out Juventus: ‘Hungry’ Pochettino and Tottenham ready to take over Europe
When the Champions League anthem rings across the length and breadth of the Wembley stadium, many Tottenham fans will be forgiven to think it is just another group-stage game for their beloved side.
However, for visiting side Juventus it is certainly bound to send a message – one which drums home the kind of transformation the North London side has gone through in recent years. At the heart of that turnaround is Mauricio Pochettino; a man who has made sure Spurs are not only making waves in England but are also being noticed in Europe.
The Spurs of before would have completely capitulated after going down 2-0 within the first 10 minutes of play against Juventus. However, this Spurs, moulded by Pochettino, showed great determination and fight to crawl themselves back into the game.
If the 2-2 draw with the Italian champions was encouraging, the patient play of Spurs was even more impressive and, at times it felt as if Juventus were rather the novices and Tottenham the side that had played in two of the last three Champions League finals.
Make no mistake about it: Pochettino and his Spurs side are ready to take on the rest of Europe and very few sides can really lay claim to being better than they currently are. This may be a youthful side but the kind of fight instilled in the team means they are bound to trouble anyone who comes their way.
The 1-1 draw with holders Real Madrid was described by many as a fluke, but after handing the Spanish champions a heavy 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture at Wembley, the world could not help but take notice.
Considering the fact that this same Real Madrid side made light work of the much-fancied Paris Saint-Germain, there is little doubt that the Spurs team is up there with the strongest in this year’s Champions League.
That, coupled with the positive energy from Pochettino, has created a sense of belief within the Tottenham fan base which is set to reach its climax on Tuesday when Juventus come to town.
The Argentine tactician has shown in his years with Spurs that he does not lack the temerity to take bold decisions and that is best typified by the standard he is trying to set at the North London club.
For many managers winning just any trophy is welcome. However, the Argentine manager has a totally different analogy: Tottenham deserve to hang out with the big boys, compete with the big boys and win what the big boys win.
Tottenham is still very much in contention to win the FA Cup – a much easier competition to scale through – but the former Southampton manager has made it clear to the players and fans that the Champions League remains the priority.
“Do we want to win trophies? Of course," Pochettino told reporters two weeks back. He added:
“We want to win trophies and celebrate with our fans. But I hear a lot about winning trophies and in the last 10 years there has been a lot of examples with coaches who have won trophies like the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup and yet six months later they were sacked. We need to think about winning big trophies like the Champions League. The pressure is to win the Champions League and also the Premier League.”
Indeed Tottenham has come of age to be winning “big trophies” and although lifting the Champions League could be a step too far, the club has shown under Pochettino that it is ready to take over Europe, starting with the possible elimination of Juventus on Wednesday.