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Thursday 22 June 2017

Pochettino: Chelsea favourites in Cup semi

Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has labelled Chelsea as favourites for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Chelsea sit top of the Premier League table but second-placed Spurs are the team in form, having cut the gap to four points by winning their last seven matches.

Tottenham also beat the Blues 2-0 in their most recent meeting at White Hart Lane in January but Pochettino's young guns are yet to win a trophy under his leadership.

The team that started Spurs' 4-0 victory against Bournemouth last Saturday have won 10 league titles between them, eight of them in Holland, while Chelsea's side against Manchester United have claimed 18.

Pochettino said: "If there is one favourite it's more Chelsea because they are on the top of the table in the Premier League and (with) the experienced players they have, and the manager that they have.

"We are talking of the team that maybe in the last five years has won European competitions, World Cups, a manager that won the league with Juventus in Italy.

"I think it's a more experienced team than us. But we're in a good moment too, a hungry team. To challenge now this type of club, of team, is a very important thing for Tottenham."

Tottenham last lifted the FA Cup in 1991 and in the 16 years since Chelsea have won 17 major trophies.

"Now to win is more difficult," Pochettino added. "You are competing with big clubs and big players.

"To reach that level that you challenge and you fight the likes of Chelsea, you compare the players and they have players that won World Cups."

Tottenham should, in theory, enjoy a feeling of home advantage at Wembley, where they have hosted all of their European games this season and are due to play home fixtures from the start of next term.

Their record at Wembley, however, has been poor. They won only one of their four Champions League and Europa League matches there and have managed only one victory in their last eight at the national stadium overall.

"Is Wembley an advantage or a disadvantage? I will tell you after the game," Pochettino said.

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