'Wow!' - Pochettino reacts as Ronaldinho says Spurs can lift the Champions League

The legendary Brazilian has backed the Lilywhites' quality and believes they can mount a real challenge for Europe's top trophy

A somewhat shocked Mauricio Pochettino said he would 'respect' Ronaldinho's recent claims that Tottenham can go all the way in the 2018-19 Champions League, with the London side having never lifted the most coveted trophy in club football.

Spurs started the season well, at first keeping pace with title-chasing duo Manchester City and Liverpool, but have since fallen away in the race after a string of sub-par results since the turn of the year.

Pochettino's side, however, remain in European competition and boast a 1-0 aggregate lead over Pep Guardiola's City juggernaut, and the Argentine's former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate sees no reason why Spurs can't win this year's Champions League title.

“Why can't Spurs win the Champions League?” Ronaldinho told the Daily Star. “Because they don't have history in the competition? Or because they have never won it before? Every team who has won the Champions League had to win it for the first time once.

“Their result against Manchester City, who are one of the best teams and have some of the best players in the competition, showed that they can compete with the best. At this stage, they will believe they can go all the way.

“If they play as they can then maybe they will.”

Pochettino has often played down what he and his team can achieve with what is currently in their arsenal, pointing to a lack of signings while the club invested time and money into their new stadium as they build for the future.

He was, however, in a more positive frame of mind after hearing Ronaldinho's statement.

“Why not?” the Argentine told a press conference, before stating: “Wow – he knows a lot about football and I'm going to respect him. He was a great team-mate when we played together at PSG. We spend some amazing times together on the pitch and the training ground.

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“I learned a lot from him – laughing, smiling, dancing. If you want to play well, you have to be happy and smile. I learn a lot from Brazilian players but spending nearly three years with Ronaldinho was amazing.

“In football, anything can happen, just like in life. You must believe and have trust in yourself and your ability and quality. It is good that people like Ronaldinho think you have the quality to win. That increases our belief.

“Maybe we will be able to beat an amazing team like Manchester City.”