Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino tells fans it’s okay to dream of Champions League success
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Only two other English clubs have matched Tottenham’s points haul of 16 in the group and both of them went on to reach the final of the competition the same year
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has told the club’s supporters it is okay to start dreaming after a stunning Champions League Group H campaign came to a triumphant end.
Spurs put three past APOEL for the second time with Fernando Llorente, Heung-min Son and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou on target at Wembley.
It meant the Lilywhites picked up 16 points out of a possible 18 in their group – the most of any team in the competition this season.
Arsenal (2005/06) and Manchester United (2007/08) are the only other English clubs to achieve a 16-point haul and they both reached the final the year they did, so can Spurs do something similar?
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Pochettino said: “It’s a fantastic achievement and it is a thing to give pride to the team, but now it’s a long way, still a long way (from the final).
“We need to wait until the end of February to play again and we need to see the draw and I hope that we keep that level.
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“Of course, our motivation to play in the best competition in the world is massive and we are going to try to win every game and to try to go as far as we can. In football always you can dream and, why not? We can dream.”
Tottenham’s efforts in this season’s tournament are in complete contrast to last term when they finished third behind Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco.
Pochettino’s team only managed to defeat CSKA Moscow in last year’s Champions League, but this time around they’ve showed an impressive level of maturity.
“It’s a massive change. We feel it’s completely different,” said the 45-year-old. “Last season we were so disappointed about how we played, how difficult it was for us to compete in the Champions League.
“This season we’ve improved a lot, but it’s true that we’ve expended a lot of energy in different games and maybe it’s affected us a little bit in the Premier League.
“Now we need to be focused on the Premier League and start to win games again, but of course from one season to another, I think it’s a massive step up for us.”
While Spurs have toppled the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in Europe’s elite competition, they’ve failed to beat domestic rivals Watford, Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion in recent weeks.
Tottenham will look to put that right on Saturday when Stoke City make the trip to Wembley Stadium.
After hosting the Potters, Spurs can then turn their attention to the draw for the last-16 of the Champions League.
Potential opponents in the knock-out phase include Basel, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto.
All would provide Tottenham with a stern examination, but after coming through this so-called group of death, Pochettino isn’t fussed about who they face next year.
He added: “No, no one in particular, I think all the opponents that it is possible we could have in the draw will be strong and good teams, but it’s difficult to know and difficult because all of the opponents I think will be difficult.
“We are going to have a very busy period, we have a busy period ahead, so the more players with confidence that they can compete for places in the starting XI is so important and it can help the team a lot.”