Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said that Barcelona are favourites to secure the Champions League title this term as they possess the mesmerising talents of Lionel Messi in their ranks. The Argentina international has another fine season with the Blaugrana where he has contributed 46 goals and 16 assists, and the club head into the semi-final stage of the Champions League as the favourites to win the elite competition.
Speaking to Goal.com, Pochettino indicated that there are generally no favourites to win the competition after witnessing the surprise results at the quarter-final stage. However, he added that the Blaugrana hold the advantage over the rest due to the presence of Messi, he said: “For me there is no favourite if we see what happened in the quarters. But personally, the favourite is the one that has Lionel Messi, and that one is Barca. If it were not like that, there would be 25 per cent chance for each semi-finalist.”
Meanwhile, Pochettino happened to suggest that Ajax could have the advantage over Spurs at the semi-final stage of the Champions League, considering they had the weekend off unlike them, who faced a tough derby against West Ham United, he added: “We are very focused in the Premier League these days, this Saturday we played against West Ham. We look askance at Ajax for now, we know them a lot. We are going to be pressured because we do not have a clean week to prepare for it, plus we played a derby and we do not know in what condition our players will be.”
On paper, Spurs go as the favourites ahead of the opening leg of the Champions League semi-final at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, but they would be aware of the threat presented by Ajax. The Dutch giants have already surpassed expectations with shock results over Juventus and Real Madrid, and Spurs surely can’t afford to go on the defensive against the Eredivisie outfit.