Mauricio Pochettino has urged Tottenham Hotspur to “expect the best Real Madrid” in the Champions League on Tuesday, “otherwise we’ll lose.”
The showdown at the Santiago Bernabeu marks Pochettino’s first return to Spain as a Coach since leaving Espanyol in 2012, and the Spurs boss is under no illusions as to the threat posed by Madrid.
“Kane? [The] most important thing is that he’s happy at Tottenham and [as for] the future, who knows where we’ll be,” he said at a Press conference.
“He enjoys Tottenham, he comes from the academy, he identifies with the club. Only football knows the future.
“For me, he’s a player who likes scoring, loves the Tottenham shirt and was excited when he saw Totti’s farewell in Rome, and that creates extra motivation.
“I hope he stays with us for a long time because he has great quality and is great pro and [role] model for many of his teammates.
“On the level of Higuain, Aguero and Suarez? We all agree with what everyone is seeing. He is clearly one of the best. It’s difficult to talk about first, second, third, but he’s one of the best and playing really well.
“[His] potential is great, [he’s] still very young and [can still] improve a lot. One-club man? Harry Kane was so emotional when he saw the last game of Totti for Roma, only playing at one club, and I said maybe Harry Kane can have the same career as Totti.
“Isco? Every Coach wants to [have] the best players and Isco is proving he’s one of the best in the world. I’ve known him for a while.
“I’ve seen him at different clubs and he’s always been a player with great creativity and has reached maturity at this great club. We must take him into account. His magic and quality are absolutely obvious.
“Madrid? I only remember ‘95 or ‘96 when we won here, the last time Espanyol won here… It wasn’t the best situation to compete with this type of team. But today is [a] different chapter.
“Tottenham are a historic club and we try to put Tottenham in that level to fight for big things, not only in England, in Europe. [Madrid] are a big opponent, and we can show that we can compete at this level [against them].
“It’s difficult to prepare just [by] watching the performances they’ve had in the League. It can be quite tricky.
“Real Madrid can raise the level when necessary, so we must be ready and know we can [face] the best Real Madrid.
“Otherwise, we will lose. We must expect the best Real Madrid and look at their weaknesses to try to harm them.
“It’s special to play here at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid in Champions League, the team with the most trophies in this competition. For English players, it’s a dream. That’s true.
“When you come here, you feel football and it’s a great opportunity for everyone. Everyone is excited to play on Tuesday.
“Zidane? You can’t just win all these trophies, his capability to manage the team has been highlighted by everyone.
“He’s best at understanding the team. This feeling of confidence he has. He doesn’t need to say, ‘I’m the leader, I’m in charge.’
“This way of managing is most remarkable. We can’t doubt his knowledge of football.
“Can Spurs win the CL? The dominance of Spanish football with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, they've always been there.
“Atletico Madrid have been competitive with Simeone. We compete in England, where everything is fantastic, top level…
“Today the Premier League is better than any other at product level, [but] the problem is the Premier League is really demanding.
“You don't have many chances to compete. Spanish or German Leagues can have a break at Christmas to recharge [their] batteries psychologically. That’s important.
“In England, we compete the most, it is clear. When you come to March and play in finals, the level of freshness is very difficult to find for English teams.
“The situation is this. The Premier League are facing circumstances [that aren’t] not comparable. As we’re in Brexit, we won’t be in Europe for much longer!”