Tottenham Hotspur vs Juventus - Pochettino: Europe is staring to respect Tottenham

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2018 by PA

Tottenham Hotspur vs Juventus - Pochettino: Europe is staring to respect Tottenham

Mauricio Pochettino believes his ``brave'' Tottenham side are ready to take another major step in Europe.

Spurs host Juventus on Wednesday night in the second leg of their round-of-16 tie at Wembley.

The north Londoners have every chance of knocking out the Italian champions -finalists in two of the last three seasons - after coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the first leg in Turin.

Having already beaten Real Madrid in the group stage, Tottenham's reputation across the continent continues to grow and Pochettino has told his players to grasp their latest opportunity to make another big statement.

``It's been step by step, a little step every season,'' said the Spurs boss.

``You can see the team is more mature. We are going to enjoy tomorrow.

``We know very well we are playing one of the best teams in Europe but we are a brave team and we are very positive people.

``We need to think that we can win, we always think in this way. If we are able to play in the way we normally do then we will be close to winning.

``After the group stage we improved our reputation in Europe. Last season was a massive disappointment to be out in the first stage, but this year of course the people in Europe start to respect Tottenham.

``They respect the philosophy we build and the football we play. We feel we have respect for the brand of football we show, they respect us in Europe we feel.'' Toby Alderweireld is unavailable, as is suspended full-back Serge Aurier. Gianluigi Buffon feels Tottenham's attacking style will play into the hands of Juventus at Wembley. Juve, who have contested two of the past three finals, face the prospect of bowing out early unless they can breach Tottenham's defence - but goalkeeper Buffon is confident they will get chances.

``It is a fascinating challenge to play at Wembley, an historic football theatre, and also it is a challenge because we have to try to get through following the first leg, and because we are playing a strong team,'' said the 40-year-old.

``It will be an uphill battle but sometimes you can get caught out going downhill so we are up for the challenge.

``Tottenham quite clearly have a lot of great attributes, they have a tried and trusted style of play.

``They like to attack, they can be physical, they are good technically, but their style allows the opposition a few chances, so I think the fans are in for a treat.''

Higuain has been passed fit after missing the last two matches with a ankle problem, but Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic is out with a thigh injury.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri said:  ``Higuain has trained with the team. It's such a huge game you are going to want to play even if not in tip-top condition.

``We are going to have to be a lot better technically than we were in the first game, especially in the second half.

``For us it is like a final because we know if we don't get a result we will be out.''

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