Pochettino expects tough challenge against Barcelona

Barcelona will play its best team against Tottenham, according to Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes his side arrives in good shape for its meeting with Barca on December 11.   -  Getty Images

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino expects to face a strong Barcelona next month, saying no gifts were given in the Champions League.

A second-half goal from Christian Eriksen lifted Spurs to an important 1-0 win over Inter at Wembley on Wednesday. While it moved into second in Group B, Tottenham visits Barcelona on matchday six, while Inter – which is level on points with Spurs – hosts PSV.

The LaLiga giant has already won the group, but Pochettino believes the Spanish outfit will still play its strongest side next month.

 

"I expect they'll play with the best players but I don't know how they'll prepare the game," he told a news conference.

"We need to think about us, prepare for the game in the best way, and try to believe we can win. What Barcelona do is not in our hands. But, of course, in the Champions League, no one is going to give a present and play and not care about the result.

"It's going to be very competitive but of course they're qualified in first with 13 points. Us and Inter can only arrive with 10 points. All is possible in football. But now we need to focus on Arsenal on Sunday [in] another massive game for us."

READ | Tottenham 1 Inter 0: Eriksen keeps Spurs' last-16 hopes alive

Tottenham has found form by winning six straight games, including victories over Inter and Chelsea in its past two matches.

Pochettino, who started Eriksen and Son Heung-min on the bench against Inter, hopes his side arrives in good shape for its meeting with Barca on December 11.

"We have big respect for Barcelona, one of the best teams in Europe. Of course, they have unbelievable players and it'll be so tough, but one thing we have is our belief and faith we can win," he said.

"We only need to show again a good level to compete at our best. To arrive at Barcelona and compete in our best we need to have fresh legs, fresh minds, no injuries.

"To arrive in that way in Barcelona we need to manage and we need to rotate the squad. If not, the demands of the Premier League are so tough. We're playing Champions League and the cup against Arsenal at the Emirates.

"Every three days playing games is so tough – so tough for us but for our players so, so difficult. They're not going to have one day off until January."

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