Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has issued a rallying cry ahead of his side’s Champions League opener with Borussia Dortmund, urging them to learn from last season’s mistakes.
The north London outfit were eliminated from a favourable group containing CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco after just five games, struggling to adapt to European football at Wembley.
But the Argentine has insisted that their failures of last season will only make them even more determined this time around, despite being in a group with current holders Real Madrid and Dortmund.
Talking prior to their opener on Wednesday, Pochettino said:
“It was our first experience of the Champions League last season – previously 98% or 99% of the players played in the Europa League.
“That experience is important. We know what the competition demands of you. It was a very painful experience but, today, there’s not an excuse. We need to be ready.”
And he continued to say that nothing less than three points will do against Dortmund:
“Last season, after the first game at home against Monaco [where Tottenham lost 2-1] it was difficult to change the dynamic. This game against Dortmund is so important. To start well will be key to the future. It is like a final.”
In other news, former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard has claimed that Christian Eriksen can fill the void left by Dele Alli’s absence and lead Tottenham to victory over the Germans.
Alli will serve the first of his three-match suspension following his dismissal in Tottenham’s last European match against Gent in the Europa League, in a game where Spurs shockingly crashed out.
In a column for the Evening Standard, Lampard said:
“Being without a player of Alli’s quality through suspension is never ideal, yet Eriksen is the one I expect to step up. I saw Spurs’ win over Everton at the weekend and he was fantastic in midfield, creating chances and dictating play.”
And lastly, Tottenham have been handed a Carabao Cup tie against Championship side Barnsley after they came out on top in a rescheduled second-round encounter with Derby on Tuesday evening.
Derby’s first-round tie against Grimsby was delayed due to adverse weather conditions – hence the late completion last night’s match – and Adam Hammill’s 88th minute winner sealed a dramatic victory.
Barnsley will now take the trip to Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night to face their Premier League opponents in the third-round, with boss Pochettino expected to ring the changes for the home side.