Poch reveals how Spurs will stop Messi

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Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur face Barcelona tonight at Wembley in one of the biggest clashes of the season so far.

Spurs lost their opening Champions League match against Inter Milan, despite leading at the San Siro with 85 minutes gone. Pochettino’s men conceded two in seven minutes to see all three points snatched away.

They will be looking to get their first points on the board against a Barca team that thrashed PSV 4-0 in their respective opening tie of the competition.

However, since then Barcelona have gone on a three game winless streak in La Liga, compared to Tottenham’s three wins in a row in all competitions.

Pochettino does have somewhat of an injury headache at the moment though, with the likes of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen, Michel Vorm, Serge Aurier and Luke Amos all suffering from injuries this week.

It will be a much-depleted Tottenham side, but Pochettino is still confident they can keep his fellow Argentinian Lionel Messi quiet.

The Metro report Poch said: “It’s very clear, very simple, we need to be near him when he gets the ball. If we leave him space he will get away from his marker.

“What we need is to have players helping each other. We need to demand sacrifice and they will expend a lot of energy.”

With many comparisons being drawn with the Real Madrid 3-1 victory at Wembley last season for Spurs, Pochettino insists this game is very different: “I think we are in a different period. Plenty of our players were involved in the World Cup and until we arrived at Real Madrid it was our biggest game.

“Then they played in the World Cup. Now you cannot motivate in the same way as you did one year ago. Maybe it is the same players. It’s about enjoying the game tomorrow and the best player in the world in Messi.

“Football is not a drama but always it’s about being focused, competitive and enjoying playing against the best player in the world. Be optimistic and be happy and smile when you go on the pitch. Don’t be too serious.”

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