Focusing after Champions League euphoria is difficult, concedes Pochettino

Tottenham is "in a bubble" after eliminating Manchester City in the Champions League, but it has to refocus before facing them again.

Published : Apr 18, 2019 22:17 IST

Mauricio Pochettino concedes it will be difficult to get Tottenham focused again to play Manchester City on Saturday after dramatically eliminating Pep Guardiola's men in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

In what will be remembered as a classic Champions League clash, Tottenham lost 4-3 on the night, but went through on away goals having won the first leg 1-0.

A controversial Fernando Llorente goal ultimately proved decisive, as the ball appeared to hit his arm on its way in with 17 minutes to go, but referee Cuneyt Cakir let it stand after a VAR review.

City thought they had secured a spot in the semi-finals with almost the last kick of the game, but again VAR ruled in favour of Spurs, with Raheem Sterling's goal – which would have completed his hat-trick – disallowed due to Sergio Aguero straying offside in the build-up.

The two teams do it all over again in the Premier League on Saturday, with City still leading the chase for the title, and Pochettino acknowledged that getting his players to put the Champions League semi-final to the back of their minds is easier said than done.

"It is not easy, it is so difficult to tell them to stop thinking about the result and the possibility to play in the semi-final," Pochettino told reporters in his pre-match news conference.

"It is our responsibility altogether to try to make sure we are going to be there on Saturday with the capacity to fight and challenge them again.

"Of course, we are all tired after an amazing and crazy and unbelievable night. You know that when we left [Manchester], everyone was happy but a little bit tired too.

"We arrived [in London] late, we didn't sleep too much, but the happiness allows you to feel strong and with energy and, of course, now thinking about the game of Saturday, because we don't have time to enjoy.

"We need to forget the Champions League now and try to be ready for Saturday, because it's going to be a battle."

Despite Pochettino's desire to focus on Saturday, he continued to be asked about Wednesday's result and the fact Spurs are into the Champions League last four for the first time, and for him the achievement has not yet sunk in.

"[It] means a lot [to get to the semi-finals]," he added. "We still don't realise, because we are still in a dream, in a bubble.

"Of course, through messages from family and friends [we realise], but because we are so busy preparing for Saturday's game, you don't allow yourself to live the reality.

"But that's good, because our job is to focus and concentrate and try to use all the tools to provide the team with the best tools to be ready for Saturday.

"Of course, we are so happy and it means a lot to our fans, we feel so proud, but there's a lot of work to do until the end of the season."

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