Tottenham Hotspur’s manager Mauricio Pochettino has said that whichever team includes Lionel Messi in their ranks will be the clear favourites to win the UEFA Champions League.
“For me, there is no favourite if we see what happened in the quarters. But personally, the favorite is the one that has Lionel Messi, and that one is Barca. If it were not like that, there would be 25 per cent chance for each semi-finalist,” goal.com quoted Pochettino as saying on Monday.
Tottenham were beaten for the very first time at their new stadium on Saturday in a Premier League clash and the manager has been critical of the tournament for not allowing the team to ease up on their fixtures ahead of the Champions League semi-final.
“We are very focused in the Premier League these days, this Saturday we played against West Ham. We look askance at Ajax, for now, we know them a lot,” Pochettino said.
“We are going to be pressured because we do not have a clean week to prepare for it, plus we played a derby and we do not know in what condition our players will be,” he added.
The manager will be without both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for first-leg Champions League semi-final against Ajax at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs are the only one of the four semi-finalists in this year’s Champions League never to have won the competition or played in the finals.
The team reached this stage after a stunning away-goals victory over Manchester City in the quarter-finals.
Tottenham takes on Ajax FC in the Champions League first-leg semi-final on Wednesday, May 1.