Mauricio Pochettino has contrasted the desire of Lionel Messi’s virtuoso performance against Liverpool on Wednesday with the insipid start his side made to their Champions League semi-final against Ajax 24 hours before.
As per the Guardian, Pochettino has hailed the hunger of his Argentine countryman, who dragged the tie Barcelona’s way after a first leg largely dominated by the Reds.
He said: “Messi is one of the gods of football – his desire to fight with the ball at his feet is unbelievable. He’s a massive example. If we play like him in the second leg, we are going to have a chance to reach the final.
“If we don’t, we have no chance. Ajax weren’t better than us but they were when they showed more desire than us. It is so painful when you see Messi’s desire and say: ‘Why weren’t we motivated in the same way?’”
Pochettino makes an important point about performing on the big stage. Messi’s brilliance is not just in the quality of his play but also how the importance of the match never seems to get him down.
Also, despite the fact he has been there and seen it all, he still has that desire to pour his all into every game on the biggest stage.
Tottenham didn’t get going in that first 20 minutes, but the tie is still alive.