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Tottenham Hotspur arrive for first Champions League knock-out tie in seven years in ‘very good moment’

PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 February 2018

Tottenham Hotspur's Mousa Dembele (right) and Arsenal's Granit Xhaka battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Wembley (pic: John Walton/PA Images).

Tottenham Hotspur's Mousa Dembele (right) and Arsenal's Granit Xhaka battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Wembley (pic: John Walton/PA Images).

PA Wire/PA Images

When Spurs face Serie A giants Juventus tonight, it will see two in-form teams go head-to-head in the last-16 of the Champions League

Spurs will walk out at Turin this evening to play the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus in a ‘very good moment’ according to boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham Hotspur face a huge task tonight against the Old Lady, but approach the clash with plenty of confidence and belief.

Pochettino’s men have just negotiated a tricky spell in style by claiming Premier League victories over Manchester United and Arsenal while also fighting back to earn a point at Liverpool, despite trailing in stoppage time.

It only puts Spurs in fifth place in the league, but they haven’t lost since December 16 and are bang in form now ahead of facing a Juventus team who are also flying.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side have conceded only one goal during their previous 16 matches in all competitions and last tasted defeat on November 19.

But Pochettino, when reflecting on last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal, said: “It is important for the belief of the team and for the confidence.

“You know very well football is about trust, confidence and belief and we have now achieved a clean sheet against Manchester United and Arsenal.

“I think we deserved more against Liverpool, but we only took the draw and the performance of the team is good and we are doing a fantastic job and I’m so pleased.

“This is a key period and we need to fight for the top-four and now with these three points we are in on the battle and now we have the Champions League.

“The Champions League is a competition that excites our fans, us and always you dream to play in this type of game and we arrive in a very good moment for us.”

If Spurs are to achieve a positive result this evening, you suspect Mousa Dembele will have an important part to play.

The Belgium has often struggled to find his best form this season with a number of different injury problems holding him back at times.

However, Dembele has started seven of the club’s last eight games in all competitions and looked imperious against the likes of Everton, Man United and Arsenal.

Pochettino admits when the former Fulham midfielder is able to train regularly without any fitness issues, he can produce the type of displays which have led to him being labelled a genius by his current manager.

He added: “I think last season he played so well, and then at the end of the season he suffered a problem in his ankle. He struggled with pre-season and now again he is feeling good.

“I think the problem is about his fitness, no? Because when it comes to his quality, there is no doubt that, like I have told you many times, for me he is a genius and an unbelievable player.

“But we must be careful about his fitness and when it is good and he can train, he can make this type of performance because he is a great talented player.”

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