No fears for Pochettino


Having run the gauntlet of frenzied Copa Libertadores crowds in South America, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will not be worried by whatever reception may await his team at Sheffield United tonight.

Spurs head to Bramall Lane for the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final looking to defend a slender 1-0 lead and secure a place at Wembley.

Pochettino is fully expecting the home supporters to stoke up the atmosphere in a bid to unsettle the Barclays Premier League side.

However, the 42-year-old former Argentina international believes whatever is served up from the terraces by the League One supporters will not be on the scale he regularly witnessed while playing for Newell’s Old Boys.

“It was crazy. In Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Peru or Ecuador, people are very aggressive. It is nothing like that here,” said Pochettino, who recalled the semi-final of the 1992 Copa Libertadores against America de Cali in Colombia.

He had scored in the 1-1 draw which, despite his subsequent miss from the spot, was eventually won 11-10 on penalties before all Hell broke lose.

Eduardo Berizzo, now Celta Vigo manager, was cut on the head by a battery thrown from the supporters.

“I remember going up the tunnel to the pitch and they started to throw batteries, my team-mate got hit and cut on the head. He had to get stitches from the doctor,” Pochettino said.

“When you go to these countries, I remember every time we drove from the airport, all the glass on the bus was smashed and we fell to the floor.

“In Argentina, when you play at the Bombonera, at Boca Juniors, if you survive on the journey to the stadium, you are lucky. In different countries, like in Paraguay, you are worried for your life.

“So if I can cope with that, we can cope with anything.”

Pochettino continued: “When I came over to France, to England or Spain, people told me it was difficult to play in, but when I arrived, it was nothing.

“They shout when something goes wrong, but nothing else, so this is easy. Your life here is better, more comfortable, than in other countries.”

United midfielder Stefan Scougall believes his side can complete yet another cup shock and return to Wembley for the second time in his 12 months at the club.

The Blades have already cut down Fulham, QPR and West Ham in the last two seasons, while Scougall put them 2-1 in last season’s FA Cup semi-final before Hull came back to win 5-3.

The Scot said: “It has been a fairytale for me so far, only a year into my contract and having played in two semi-finals.

“To this day, I still don’t really think it’s true I scored at Wembley.

“This is a chance to get back there, and hopefully on Wednesday night we can put things right and play there in a final.”

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