Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said Tuesday’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Manchester City is the most important game of his coaching career.
Spurs can reach the semifinals of European football’s biggest club competition for the first time since 1962, and Pochettino is desperate to secure an advantage in his side’s second game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“As a coach, yes, it’s going to be the most important game,” he told a news conference.
“To be here is a bonus and to have the opportunity to play in the quarterfinals, and in these circumstances, it’s a massive moment for us.
“It’s an opportunity to be in the semifinals, but it’s going to be very tough because Manchester City are a very good team and we respect them a lot.”
Tuesday’s match will be the first of three games between the sides in the space of 12 days, with both having plenty to play for.
Spurs are fighting to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League after a run of one win in six games, while City have the chance of an unprecedented Quadruple.
“In the last few years Manchester City are building to try and win everything,” Pochettino said. “They have a very good squad and one of the best managers in the world. If one team can do it, it is Manchester City.
“But we want to start tomorrow being very aggressive and try to dominate. It is our second game in our new stadium and the first in the Champions League, so we hope the atmosphere is amazing and tough for our opponent.
“We must match their desire. The thing we cannot match is when we talk about talent, but it’s going to be 11 vs. 11 and I hope my team is going to be better than them.”
Son, who scored the first senior goal at the new stadium in the recent victory over Crystal Palace, said: “We’ve played away from home for almost two years. We’ve missed our home a lot.
“People are excited to see the first Champions League game at the new stadium, and we want to put on a good performance. But football never gives you what you expect, and we have to perform well.”