Mauricio Pochettino says that whichever team includes Lionel Messi will be the favourite to win this season’s Champions League.
Spurs are the only one of the four never to have won the competition or played in the final, and reached this stage after a stunning away-goals victory over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the quarter-final.
And Pochettino thinks there is a good balance among the teams left in the competition – but that one player could ultimately prove the difference.
Spurs were beaten for the first time at their new stadium on Saturday, as Michail Antonio’s second-half goal condemned Pochettino’s team to a
And the manager has been critical of the Premier League for their inflexibility in not allowing Spurs to ease up on their domestic fixtures ahead of facing Ajax.
“We are very focused in the Premier League these days, this Saturday we played against West Ham,” he said.
“We look askance at Ajax
“In this moment of the competition and with a Champions semi-final, I think that all teams should have the same preparation days. If not, it's a disadvantage, but beware, it's not an excuse. I would say the same thing if it were the other way around for them.
“Sometimes we do not take into account that in England the clubs start with a disadvantage because we do not rest at Christmas, we play one more competition, we started the league a month before.”
Pochettino will be without both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for Tuesday's first leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as he looks to see off a side that have already beaten Real Madrid and Juventus in the competition this season.