Monday February 12 2018
‘Spurs can’t compare to Juventus’

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino admits “we cannot compare with Juventus, they’ve won everything”.

The English side are in Turin to take on the Old Lady in the Champions League Last 16 first leg, and the former defender was asked in his pre-match Press conference if the sides are on the same level.

“I think Juventus is a massive club, a massive club,” Pochettino replied.

“We cannot compare with Juventus, Juventus have won everything in their history and in the last three seasons Juventus arrived to play in two Champions League finals.

“Tottenham have a young team and we’re building a nice project, but I think it’s impossible to compare the history of Juventus with Tottenham.

“Of course our dream is to reach the level of Juventus.”

This is something of a homecoming for the Spurs boss, as his grandfather was from Piedmont.

“I’m so happy to be here, my first time after 45 years. I always heard about Turin and Virle Piemonte, the small town my grandfather left to go to Argentina.

“Of course I am so excited, but my focus is on tomorrow to try and play the game and be competitive.”

Toby Alderweireld won’t feature for the visitors, but Juve look set to be without Paulo Dybala.

“Toby is not here, he’s staying in London working,” Pochettino confirmed.

“I think the most important thing is to help him. He’s 28 and it’s a massive injury that we have to be careful with, be cautious with, because we can’t put his career at risk.

“Of course Dybala is a great player, he’s Argentinian! Of course every mention of Juventus is a bit different between when Dybala plays and when he doesn’t.

“These types of players like [Lionel] Messi, like Neymar, like Cristiano [Ronaldo] can give the team different options.

“Of course it’s difficult for Juventus because Dybala is a very good player, but they have a lot of players like [Federico] Bernardeschi, different players that can play.

“Of course we watched many games both with and without Dybala but it’s about the quality of the players on the pitch.”

Tottenham have been notably attacking in previous games, will that continue tomorrow?

“The team plays with one system or another system, names or different names, but keeps the same principles.

“We’re going to be brave, we’re going to try and win - of course with massive respect for the opponent. For me it’s a game to enjoy.

“When I started my career as a manager my goal was to play in the Champions League, to play a team like Juventus here in Turin.

“It’s an exciting match for us that we want to enjoy, tomorrow we want to play with great freedom and enjoy it.

“When the draw [for the group stage] happened, the two candidates in our group stage was first Real Madrid then Borussia Dortmund. Not many people believed in us and our ability to get through.

“We’ll enjoy the game tomorrow but of course we need to show that we deserve to go to the next stage.

“We need to play well and try to score, which will be difficult against a team that is so tough to score against.

“Against Arsenal in the derby the team’s performance was fantastic, why can’t we repeat that again tomorrow?”