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Pochettino focused on opening Champions League duel with Olympiacos

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Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino. PHOTO: Lindsey PARNABY / AFP

Mauricio Pochettino says he is refusing to think about reaching another Champions League final ahead of Tottenham’s Group B clash against Olympiacos today.

Spurs reached last season’s final in Madrid after a dramatic semi-final triumph over Ajax but were beaten 2-0 by Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Their 2019-20 campaign kicks off in Athens against last season’s Greek Super League runners up, with Pochettino adamant that it is too early to be talking about a second consecutive final appearance.

“It’s so early to start talking about the final,” he told a media conference. “The most important thing is to talk about our squad quality.

“I don’t care if because we reached the final people think we are a contender again. We are focused on trying to win [against Olympiacos] and starting in a good way.

“Of course, it was a long period after the final in Madrid and being honest I was thinking a lot about it during the summer.

“You can’t forget the feeling of losing in the final. You have to wait until you start again. It’s another massive challenge for us.”

Tottenham started last season’s Champions League campaign in sluggish fashion, picking up just one point in their opening three group games.

They bounced back in style, however, winning seven points from their remaining three games to progress into the knockout stages.

While Pochettino wants nothing less than three points from his side, he admits he would take a similarly poor start if it meant a trip to Istanbul for this season’s final.

“I’d sign up to start the same way as last season but finish in Istanbul,” he added. “We know we have to start by winning, though. We need to show our quality. We need to show we have learned from the past.”

Danny Rose and Serge Aurier have been rested for the clash in Greece, while Juan Foyth, Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso remain sidelined through injury


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