(Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Manchester City are “clear favourites” to win the Champions League but his players will give everything to defend their lead in the second leg of the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Spurs head to the Etihad Stadium with a 1-0 lead courtesy a Son Heung-min’s late winner in the first leg last week.
With the League Cup already in the bag, Guardiola’s side are second in the league, two points behind Liverpool but with a game in hand, and have also reached the FA Cup final.
But Pochettino is convinced his players are capable of defying the odds, despite the absence of the club’s top scorer Harry Kane due to injury.
“Of course it is going to be tough, Manchester City is one of the best teams in the world and a clear favourite to win the Premier League and Champions League,” Pochettino told reporters on Tuesday.
“It is difficult when Manchester City plays a final like they will play tomorrow.
“We are going to fight and hope for a very good performance. You need a bit of luck in important moments in the game. It will be an amazing challenge.”
Spurs are sweating on the fitness of England midfielder Dele Alli, who fractured his hand during the first leg and missed the subsequent 4-0 league victory over Huddersfield Town last weekend.
“We need to assess him,” Pochettino added.
“We are going to have the last training session today and then we decide whether he can be in the starting XI or start on the bench.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)