‘They are going to avoid risks that we take’: Mauricio Pochettino insists it’s unfair that Ajax have more time than Tottenham to prepare for Champions League semi-final
- Tottenham host Ajax in the first leg of their Champions League semi on Tuesday
- Mauricio Pochettino feels it is unfair that Ajax had their weekend tie postponed
- The Spurs boss says both semi-finalists should have the same time to prepare
Mauricio Pochettino admits that Tottenham will be at a disadvantage when they face Ajax in the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night after the Dutch league decided to postpone all domestic fixtures this weekend to give them more time to prepare.
While Ajax have a free weekend to plan for the trip to Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino’s team face West Ham in a London derby on Saturday lunchtime.
The Argentine said: ‘I know the Premier League tried to help us to prepare the semi-final but it’s true the Premier League is completely different to the Dutch league and football in Europe.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino believes Ajax’s preparations are unfair on his side
‘The reality is they are going to have more time to prepare and avoid risk. When you play Saturday and then Tuesday, competing in a derby and for big things, the concentration and effort is massive.
‘They are going to avoid risks that we take because we are competing three days before to fight for the top four.
‘It’s not a complaint. Only it’s that it is not fair. If we had one week and Ajax played Saturday, I would be thinking the same.
The Dutch side will not play this weekend ahead of the Champions League semi-final first leg
‘I don’t want to create a polemic, only that playing a Champions League semi-final, both teams must have the same time to prepare. We accept it and don’t complain.’
Pochettino’s team can take a major step towards Champions League qualification by beating West Ham and maintaining at least a four-point lead over fifth-placed Arsenal.
Pochettino insists Tottenham’s players must not look beyond West Ham even with the mouthwatering semi-final around the corner.
He added: ‘In the unconscious, it’s not easy to manage that situation. We must be strong and tough in our idea and translate this.
Lucas Moura, Son Heung-min and Fernando Llorente (L-R) prepare to face West Ham
‘Which game is more important? Tomorrow. Tomorrow will be key and decisive for being in the top four and the Champions League next season.
‘Tuesday is important on Tuesday. We must concentrate on tomorrow. It’s a derby, more than a game for our fans, and massive for next season.
‘It would be a massive achievement to finish in the top four. The concentration and focus must be 200 per cent tomorrow if we want to be competitive on Tuesday.’