“My teammate had a battery thrown on his head” – Poch explains why Ajax fans cannot intimidate him

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tottenham travel to Amsterdam on Wednesday looking to turn around a 1-0 deficit against Ajax in order to progress to the final of the Champions League.

The Lilywhites were soundly beaten in the first leg as Ajax played some brilliant football in the first half, matched up against a sluggish Spurs.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino reminded people ahead of the second leg that he had always considered Ajax favourites to win the tie.

However, the Argentine added that Spurs can win on Wednesday if they approach the game with the right mentality.

Speaking to The Mirror, the 47-year-old said, “No one believed in us — they were the favourites. It was crazy, but it’s possible if you play bravely and play with a winning mentality.”

A rousing atmosphere is expected at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday when both sides fight it out for a place in the final.

Pochettino however, won’t be intimidated by the atmosphere as he has played in front of much more hostile crowds during his time in South American football.

The Spurs manager recalled the ferocious atmosphere that his Newell’s Old Boys side encountered when they travelled to Colombian side America de Cali for the second leg of the Copa Libertadores semi-final.

He said, “I will always remember that night. It was amazing. The pressure touched you. Here [in Europe], you feel it. There, it touches you.

“I remember arriving at the stadium was unbelievable because it was like a jungle, where you cannot see the threat, with stones thrown at us.

“Then, walking out onto the pitch, there was a big plastic tunnel that went nearly to the middle of the pitch.

“My team-mate Eduardo Berizzo received a battery on his head and cut him. We had to wait, go inside and get him stitched before playing a semi-final. That was before the start.”

Pochettino also revealed that the players and the coaching staff were disappointed at the lack of intensity Tottenham showed in the first half of the first leg.

He added, “Now the fans, mostly the players – we feel all disappointed because we didn’t start the first game, playing a semi-final of the Champions League.

“We didn’t translate the emotion or the image that we were playing in a Champions League semi-final. That is why we feel very, very disappointed after the first leg.”

Spurs Web Opinion

When Tottenham pressed Ajax a little higher up the field in the second half of the first leg, the visitors looked much less assured than they did in the first half.

Spurs should look to press the hosts high up the pitch instead of waiting to play on the counter on Wednesday.

If the Lilywhites can get an early goal, that will certainly put a lot of pressure on Ajax as they are now favourites to progress for the first time in this year’s competition.

We at Spurs Web believe Mauricio Pochettino will be quietly confident of his side’s chances going into the game.

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