Pochettino’s men have done terrifically in the Champions League so far as they had to endure a tough group as well as knockout rounds against Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.
Now, all that stands between Tottenham and a place in the Champions League final is a young Ajax side, who have been the surprise package of the tournament so far.
The Dutch giants have eliminated the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus from the competition in previous rounds and therefore come into the game full of confidence.
Ahead of the first leg, Pochettino insisted that a difficult task awaits Spurs on Tuesday night as Erik ten Hag’s side have very few weaknesses. He also compared Ajax’s journey in the competition to his own team’s, as both clubs have defied the odds to qualify for the last four of the competition.
Speaking to Football.London, the Argentine said, ” To reach the semi-final means they have a lot of quality and of course unbelievable players. Ajax are doing fantastically.
“They were unbeaten in the group stage against tough teams like Bayern Munich and then beating Real Madrid and Juventus. Only the results describe how strong the team is.
“We can talk about quality but I think it’s difficult to find some weakness. It’s a team which deserves a lot of credit, the manager and the players are doing a fantastic job.
“A little bit like us, no one believed Ajax could arrive in the semi-final, but we are there because we deserve to be. We came from a similar run. I promise you we are focused and think it will be really tough.”
Ajax have had considerably more time to prepare for this game compared to Spurs, who were involved in a high-octane London derby against West Ham on Saturday.
However, the Spurs manager said that his side will not use that as an excuse if they come unstuck in the first leg.
The 47-year-old added, “Maybe, that is the reality we are competing on Saturday in a derby and Ajax had the week to prepare. To prepare more is to avoid risk. With Saturday we played a really tough game but that is not an excuse. That is the reality.
“If the same thing happened opposite with us one week to prepare for a semi-final and Ajax playing Saturday I would also not be happy.
“For when you arrive in a Champions League semi-final the fairest way is to have the same time for both teams to prepare. But that’s the situation and what happens happens.
“But it is going to be a fantastic semi-final and we are going to try to win and perform in our best, but never is it going to be an excuse because we didn’t have the same time to prepare.”
Spurs Web’s take:
While Ajax are a brilliant young side, it can be argued that the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus didn’t give them the respect they deserved.
One would think Pochettino’s side won’t make the same mistake, and will instead try to catch the visitors on the counter-attack.
If Spurs can keep a clean sheet in the first leg, then they would probably give themselves a great chance of progressing into the final.
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