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Friday 9 December 2016

Pochettino: 'Europa failure could help us'

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino

Manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted missing out on European football could aid Tottenham's bid to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Pochettino has bemoaned the impact playing on Thursday nights across Europe has had on his side's Premier League campaign, while looking ruefully at Manchester United's top-four march having finished seventh last term.

Liverpool reached Europe's elite competition after finishing second last term when without a continental distraction and this term have struggled to cope with the dual focus.

Pochettino takes his sixth-placed Spurs, who are seven points adrift of fourth-placed United, to his former club Southampton for the first time tomorrow, with the battle for European football high on the agenda.

If Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 30, the seventh-placed team in the Premier League will qualify for the Europa League. "This season realistically it's very difficult to reach the top four," Pochettino said.

"(But) never is it a problem when you have the possibility to play in Europe.

FINANCIAL

"In football you need to try and take the positive result and always win.

"If you achieve the Europa League it might not be the dream of the club or the supporters but you need to play it because it is good for the financial side of the club.

"The most important thing is to be ambitious or to understand we need to try and build a strong team for next season to fight for the top four.

"It's very difficult to manage the Europa League with the Premier League and both cups. You spend a lot of energy when you play in the Europa League and it's not easy, but you never know.

"It's true the experience last season with Liverpool and now with Manchester United, I think it's a clear example that maybe you will have the opportunity to stay closer to reaching the top four if you only are focused on the Premier League and the cups."

Pochettino dismissed the prospect of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who could return after missing three matches with a knee injury, seeking a move if Spurs miss out on the top four this term.

"Hugo wants to play the Champions League here for Tottenham and I think this is a rumour and nothing true," added the Spurs boss, whose only definite absentee is Kyle Walker. "Hugo is very happy here and wants to reach the Champions League with Tottenham. This is his dream."

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