Ajax vs Tottenham: Mauricio Pochettino hints at exit should Spurs win Champions League

Mauricio Pochettino said that he would be able to “go home” happy if Tottenham won the Champions League, effectively leaving him with little else to achieve in the game.

Spurs can reach the final if they overturn a 1-0 deficit in their semi-final second leg against Ajax on Wednesday night. And at his pre-match press conference at the Johan Cryuff Arena on Tuesday night, Pochettino suggested there would be almost nothing left for him to do in football if he lifts the famous trophy in Madrid on 1 June, because it would cap off his first five years at Spurs so perfectly.

Pochettino said that winning this competition – which would also be his first major trophy as Spurs manager – would be the perfect conclusion to an initial five-year cycle in charge at the club. “Winning the Champions League? It should be fantastic, no? Close the five-year chapter and go home.”

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When pressed whether he would leave Spurs, Pochettino said that he was not joking, but that he meant winning the Champions League would emphatically draw a line under his time at the club so far and raise questions about what could come next.

“It is not a joke,” he said. “Maybe I work with Daniel [Levy], sitting, working in different for sure. To win the Champions League with Tottenham, in this circumstance, in this season, maybe I need to think a little bit to do something different in the future, for sure. Because to repeat this miracle, you know…But for sure I hope [to go] home. Whatever happens tomorrow, I go home.”

Pochettino repeated his instruction to his players that they have to “dream” in order to overturn Ajax and reach the final. Even though simply being in this position itself represents huge progress. 

“I think we are living a dream,” he said. “Five years ago, when we arrived, it was to reduce the gap with the top four. Then the possibility to play Champions League. Then to qualify for the last 16, then to quarter-finals and now to be in the semi-final. For us it’s a bonus, for myself it’s a bonus. 

“Of course now we are there, we want to try to win and be in the final. I’m not thinking about if we are creating history. The most important is to try and enjoy, to try and bring to the players that belief, as we have done to get here. We must also dream.”

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