In Brief

Pochettino: Premier League and FA don’t help English clubs in Champions League

Tottenham boss hits out over his team’s ‘massive disadvantage’ going into the second leg against Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund vs. Tottenham Hotspur (0-3 on aggregate)
  • What: Champions League round of 16 second leg
  • When: Tuesday 5 March 
  • Where: BVB Stadion, Dortmund, Germany 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm (GMT) 
  • TV and live stream: BT Sport 2

Mauricio Pochettino has launched a scathing attack on the power brokers of English football and claimed they are holding back the success of the top clubs.

The Tottenham manager fired his broadside on the eve of his team’s Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

Spurs have a healthy 3-0 advantage from last month’s first leg but Pochettino is aggrieved that tonight’s opponents have had an extra day to recuperate.

Unlevel playing field

The German Bundesliga allowed Dortmund to play Augsburg on Friday night whereas Tottenham hosted Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime in a full-blooded north London derby.

That extra day’s rest could be a crucial factor this evening, said Pochettino, who, according to The Guardian, has been unable to prepare as he would have liked in light of Saturday’s match.

“Both clubs are not going to arrive in the same situation,” said the Argentine. “It is not the same to have 24 hours more or less to prepare for the game.

“We must prioritise different things and we cannot work on the pitch. It is not fair for the players and for the team who compete with a massive disadvantage.

“It’s impossible in this type of game, the last 16 of the Champions League – with how important it is – that one team have 24 hours more than the other to prepare.”

Sensitive side

The Champions League represents the only potential silverware remaining for Tottenham after another season in which their inconsistency has let them down at critical moments.

But Pochettino believes the Football Association (FA) and the Premier League haven’t helped his side, or any Premier League club, looking to triumph in Europe’s showpiece competition.

“We need help from the FA, we need help from the Premier League, and it’s true they need to be more sensitive to this type of situation,” he explained.

“It’s difficult already and it’s going to be more difficult. Look what happened with Rennes in the Europa League. They cancelled their game at the weekend to help provide Rennes [with more time] to play against Arsenal [in Thursday’s Europa League tie].

“In Europe the FAs are more sensitive. It is a problem that we need to change if we want to help the English clubs be stronger in the competition.”

English clubs suffering

The stats are with the Spurs manager: between 2004 and 2012, English clubs reached the final of the Champions League on eight occasions but since 2012 only Liverpool last season have achieved the feat.

As for what his side needs to do in Dortmund this evening to ensure their progress into the last eight of the Champions League for only the second time in their history, Pochettino said: “We need to play like we always play – trying to win the game. We cannot think about the 3-0 advantage. It’s not important now. We can’t think it’s going to be easy. If we think that, it’s going to be a massive problem.”

Champions League last-16 second-leg fixtures

Borussia Dortmund vs. Tottenham Hotspur (0-3 on aggregate)
  • When: Tuesday 5 March 
  • Where: BVB Stadion, Dortmund, Germany 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm (all times GMT) 
  • TV and live stream: BT Sport 2
Real Madrid vs. Ajax (2-1 on aggregate)
  • When: Tuesday 5 March 
  • Where: Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm 
  • TV and live stream: BT Sport 3
FC Porto vs. Roma (1-2 on aggregate)
  • When: Wednesday 6 March 
  • Where: Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport 3
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United (2-0 on aggregate)
  • When: Wednesday 6 March 
  • Where: Parc des Princes, Paris, France 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport 2
Juventus vs. Atlético Madrid (0-2 on aggregate)
  • When: Tuesday 12 March 
  • Where: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport
Manchester City vs. FC Schalke (3-2 on aggregate)
  • When: Tuesday 12 March 
  • Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport
Barcelona vs. Lyon (0-0 on aggregate)
  • When: Wednesday 13 March 
  • Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport
Bayern Munich vs. Liverpool (0-0 on aggregate)
  • When: Wednesday 13 March 
  • Where: Fußball Arena München, Munich, Germany 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport

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