Barcelona are one of the best teams in Europe- Mauricio Pochettino
Written by: Tushaar Sachdeva
The fixture is arguably their season-defining game as they need a win in Camp Nou to reach the knockout stages.
The last game in UEFA Champions League group stage kicks off on Tuesday and the situation for Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur is grim. While they are staying put at the third position in the league, they face the most important match of their season. Potentially the away fixture against FC Barcelona is their season-defining game as they find themselves hanging on the cliff of UCL group exit should they fail to beat the five-times Champions League winners and Inter Milan earn a win against PSV Eindhoven.
Tottenham are behind Barcelona in Group B with Inter tied with them with equal points and goal difference. Barcelona have clearly qualified for the knockout stage amassing 13 points from a possible 15 in five games.
Mauricio Pochettino, on the other hand, have a few other problems to solve with injuries to his preferred XI topping the list. But he remains positive with the current crop of players at his disposal. "It will be a massive game. They have qualified for the next stage but in the Champions League no one is going to give a present," said Pochettino.
Harry Kane was dropped from the starting line-up in the away win against Leicester City this weekend.
"We need to win and deserve to win. The mentality is going to be 200 percent to try to win. We are going to arrive in the best condition, Barcelona are one of the best teams in Europe." Spurs were off to a poor start in the UCL, having earned just a single point from the PSV games and losing to Barcelona and Inter Milan in the first three games.
They came off stronger than ever, winning the rest two and now they need to match Inter's result to walk through the group stage.
They do not have a history to boast in the Champions League with only progressing from the group stage just twice - reaching quarters in 2011 when Luka Modric and Gareth Bale were at the London based club.
Pochettino in the past has laid down the importance of Premier League title and the Champions League titles that would take the club to next level having not won a single trophy since 2008.
The Messi-led club are unbeaten in 28 UCL home games and have lost just two home games against English opponents. But with the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min, the task may get a bit swift.
The Argentine Pochettino's relation with FC Barcelona runs deep as he has the history with their cross-city rivals Espanyol.
The Argentine earned his first win as a manager in a derby at the Camp Nou in 2009. "Espanyol were bottom and Barcelona were top," he recalled. "All the people were saying Espanyol were dead and had no chance. It was a special victory and an unbelievable memory," their former player and manager said.
Published: Mon Dec 10, 2018 02:11 PM IST