Barcelona’s Spanish defender Jordi Alba (L) and Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi (C) attends a team training session at Wembley Stadium in north London on October 2, 2018, ahead of their Champions League group B football match against Tottenham Hotspur on October 3. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK
Tottenham Hotspur will be without five key players for at least two weeks due to injury, but manager Mauricio Pochettino was in upbeat mood ahead of the Champions League clash with Barcelona on Wednesday.
Dele Alli (hamstring), Serge Aurier (thigh), Mousa Dembele (thigh), Christian Eriksen (abdomen) and Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) will all be out until after this month’s international break.
Spurs conceded two late goals to lose 2-1 to Inter Milan in their first group B match, but Pochettino demanded a positive approach against the La Liga champions.
“It is a period when we are not in good luck with injuries… We are not victims, though. We must feel strong,” Pochettino told a news conference yesterday.
“Every player must feel they can win and achieve what we want.
It’s about enjoying the game tomorrow and the best player in the world in (Lionel) Messi. Football is not a drama but always it’s about being focused, competitive and enjoying playing against the best player in the world.”
With memories of beating European champions Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley Stadium in the group stage last season, Pochettino was urging his side to enjoy the glamour of Wednesday’s showdown.
Spurs captain Hugo Lloris, who has not played since August due to a thigh injury, resumed full training on Tuesday and will start against Barca.
Pochettino’s famous demands on his players will be put to the test again at Wembley with the Argentine expecting maximum effort to stop his compatriot Messi, who scored a hat-trick in Barca’s 4-0 win over PSV last month.