Spurs opinion: Tottenham shouldn’t need additional motivation ahead of Ajax tie but have to be wary of Dutch giants
It wasn’t the perfect performance ahead of the Champions League semi-final against Ajax on Saturday.
Tottenham were handed their first loss at their new home as West Ham ran out 1-0 winners.
A defeat to a London rival is never great, but the manner of the loss was a concern for Mauricio Pochettino.
The Argentine was unhappy with the performance and believed we needed to do better against Ajax. Similar words were echoed by striker Fernando Llorente, as he claimed we could lose to the Dutch giants if we play like we did against the Hammers (h/t Guardian).
Of course, the players would have been thinking of the Champions League when playing the Hammers, but that should not have happened.
A place in the top four is still at stake, and the loss could have been costly. However, the other three clubs chasing a top four spot all could not collect three points at the weekend.
Tottenham have also been stretched this season due to several injuries, and we had a number of players out against the Hammers.
Son Heung-min is suspended for the first leg against Ajax while Harry Kane is recovering from his ankle injury.
Even with the loss, Tottenham should come into the game with motivation as we look to reach a first Champions League final.
Our biggest European game in years
Tottenham’s performances in Europe haven’t been great since the 2000s. We have only played four seasons in the Champions League since that time, and three of those have come under Pochettino.
The Argentine has seen an improvement in results in each season with our last campaign ending in the round of 16 as we painfully lost out to Juventus.
Our campaigns under Poch have been far from simple with ties against Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Inter Milan, Manchester City and Real Madrid, to name a few.
Spurs have proved their European mettle by securing wins against the likes of Madrid, City, Milan and Dortmund.
This season has been another great story under Pochettino, despite our injury record and lack of fresh faces in the team.
Spurs know that two good results against Ajax will take us into our first Champions League final. That should be enough to get us going, but Ajax have been incredible this season too.
The Dutch giants have made a bit of a name for themselves by knocking out Madrid and Juventus this season, and they will be eyeing another big scalp in the semis.
Tottenham will be backed vociferously by the home crowd on Tuesday, and the players would want to make up for the poor performance on Saturday, but Ajax have star power themselves.
David Neres, Dusan Tadic, Frenkie de Jong and Hakim Ziyech have been excellent in the attack while their defence has been led by Matthijs de Ligt.
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The Dutch are playing like veterans in the Champions League, however, if anyone can break them down, it has to be Pochettino.