Poch: Work like Leo and we can tri­umph

Daily Mail - - Football - By RIATH AL-SAMARRAI

MAURI­CIO PO­CHET­TINO has told his Tot­ten­ham squad that if they can­not play like Lionel Messi, they should at least work as hard as him. The Spurs man­ager still can­not ex­plain his side’s slug­gish start against Ajax in their 1-0 Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal de­feat on Tues­day and pointed to the Barcelona star as an ex­am­ple of how to im­prove. While Messi’s 600 Barcelona goals are an ob­vi­ous point of as­pi­ra­tion, Po­chet­tino has been more mes­merised by the Ar­gen­tine’s work off the ball. ‘He’s one of the gods of foot­ball,’ said Po­chet­tino af­ter watch­ing Messi score twice in Barcelona’s 3-0 semi-fi­nal win against Liver­pool. ‘It’s un­be­liev­able, the desire and the ca­pac­ity to fight with the ball and with­out the ball. It’s a mas­sive ex­am­ple, how he works for the team. ‘That is why it is so painful to start like we did in the semi-fi­nal against Ajax. But if we play like him with­out the ball, show the desire that he had against Liver­pool, we are go­ing to have the chances to qual­ify for the fi­nal. If not, no chance.’ Ful­ham’s ver­sa­tile teenager Ryan Sesseg­non, 18, has set his sights on join­ing Tot­ten­ham af­ter his side’s rel­e­ga­tion from the Premier League.

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