Today Mauricio Pochettino will make his first competitive appearance as Tottenham Hotspur manager against the fierce north London rivals Arsenal. Like a cult hit, the Spurs boss’ arrival from Southampton has seen him bring high expectations, and on Saturday afternoon at the Emirates there will be the expectation of victory as Mauricio Pochettino’s men host the Gunners with a ticket to the Europa League quarter-finals at stake.
“The Champions League is massive for us. It’s a competition that we want to be involved in,” said Pochettino when quizzed on the possibility of qualifying for the continent’s elite competition for the first time in over two decades. “I want to be in the last 16 and that’s what we have to try to achieve. So it’s important to try to keep the potential of every single week that we play with.”
The Argentine manager has started his reign with mixed results, but the 1-0 home win over Liverpool on Sunday was likely the biggest statement of intent he has made to date. “The quality of my squad is growing every game with each win we get,” he said in his programme notes. “We have to manage expectations and ambition but together we will try to make sure that we give everything, like last Saturday against Liverpool, for Tottenham.”
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino wants his side to compete at a high level in the Europa League for their next two games in Group H against Rennes and PSV Eindhoven.
Mauricio Pochettino training with his Tottenham players during their pre-Arsenal match. Photograph: Hamish Blair/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock
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“It’s great to be in the Europa League and we have had really good performances on the pitch and it’s up to us to show that over two games in the coming weeks,” said Pochettino, who has made a habit of starting his Spurs players in Europe.
“For sure we’re going to play with the same players for two matches. We can’t change the team for the matches against PSV and Rennes so we will have the same 11 players in the Europa League and decide in each game which players to make changes to make sure that everyone can play with the same principles.”
Elsewhere, Valencia are awaiting news of the possible departure of head coach Jesus Garcia Pitarch to Real Madrid after defeat to Lyon on Thursday. “The reality is that Jesus had been offered the Real Madrid position as soon as the current head coach Carlo Ancelotti signed his contract with the Madrid [club],” a Valencia statement read. “If Jesus is not able to sign a contract in another week then we’ll have to look at other options.”
And, just like the quarter-final, old foes Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid and Juventus have both qualified from their groups and will face Zenit St Petersburg and Standard Liege respectively.
Ahead of today’s fixtures, here is a guide to how you can follow the first legs of Spurs’ Europa League campaign.
Serie A – alle i minuti della tensionosa match between Napoli e Benevento. Tese i giorni si possono turchi pubblica sulla Rai + Calcio.
La giornata del Distretto – 15, Giampestri – 14, Del Bontempo – 13, TS Adriatico – 11. Commentatori.
La giornata del Distretto – 14, La Costanera – 12, La Strada – 10, La Gazzetta dello Sport – 11. Reporteri.
La giornata del Blaugrana – 14, la Manurepi – 13, Cagliari – 12, Barcelona B – 13, Suisse – 11, Stuttgart – 11. Commentatori.
Sir Alex & the King of Spurs – 7.45pm – 8.00pm
Il maggiore della capitalista.
La giornata del Lombardo – 13, Gianluca de Blasio – 8.10, il Friuli Manor – 10.20, The Link – 8.45, l’Ecchi – 12.45, osservate.net