Tottenham will take on West Ham at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this afternoon, just three days before they welcome Ajax to North London for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
This is the first time Spurs have qualified for the final four of Europe’s most prestigious club competition since 1962. So naturally, it is to be expected that both the players and the fans are excited about the game.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has warned his players not to think about Tuesday before they get the job done against the Hammers. The Argentine even insisted that the West Ham game is more important than the Ajax fixture..
Speaking during the pre-match press conference, Pochettino told Football.London, “It’s conscious, it’s easy to think and say, ‘yes, West Ham is important’, and then start to think about Ajax. But in your subconscious, it’s not easy to manage that situation.
“That’s why we must be tough and strong in our idea to translate to the players that tomorrow is the most important. If you said to me which game is more important, tomorrow is more important than Tuesday.
“Tomorrow is going to be decisive and key in being in the top four. We want to be in the top four and we want to be in the next Champions League.
“Of course Tuesday is going to be important when Tuesday arrives. We must concentrate on tomorrow because it’s a derby, when you play a derby it’s more than a game for our fans and because it is a massive thing to be playing for next season.
“To be in the top four is a massive achievement if we are able to get it. Tuesday is so important too that is why the concentration and focus must be 200 percent if we want to arrive in a good condition on Tuesday and be competitive again in the Champions League.”
Spurs Web opinion:
It is easy to see what Pochettino means when he says the derby is the more important game, as Tottenham as a club need to qualify for the Champions League on a regular basis for the current project to be successful.
However, looking at the form of the other teams around them, one would think Spurs are heavy favourites to finish in the top 4 even if they fail to beat Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
It is vital though that Spurs go into the game on Tuesday with some momentum. It will be ideal if Pochettino’s men can seal a top four finish this weekend by beating West Ham and hope that other results go their way, so that they can concentrate completely on the Champions League.
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