By Simon Evans
MADRID (Reuters) – The traditional pre-match team photograph before the Champions League final will feature the entire squads of the two sides for the first time and not just the starting lineups, UEFA said on Friday.
The idea of involving the entire squad in the photograph was floated by Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino last week and backed by UEFA ahead of Saturday’s clash with Liverpool.
Pochettino faces some tough decisions with striker Harry Kane back to fitness after seven weeks out and his replacement, Lucas Moura, having scored a hat-trick in the semi-final win against Ajax Amsterdam.
“Of course it’s painful to only use the 11 players,” the Argentine told a news conference ahead of training on Friday.
“I proposed a few weeks ago for the whole squad to be in the photo. UEFA listened and I think both teams will have that possibility,” he said.
A UEFA spokesman later confirmed that the teams have been given that opportunity for the photograph.
Pochettino said that such a gesture would also send a strong broader message.
“We talk about a lot of problems in England and tomorrow we can show millions of people the value of togetherness. Football is a collective sport and the 25 players are so important. The energy of the players not playing will also be decisive in the changing room,” he said.
The Spurs boss said he would not take any decision on whether to start with Kane or his other selection choices until after Friday’s training.
“It’s difficult to put yourself in my place. It’s not going to be easy to take a decision tomorrow and every game you need to take a decision. Tomorrow we will have all the information and we will take the best decision to try to win,” he said.
Spurs captain Hugo Lloris said the final was a game where the entire squad would have a role.
“We are going to need everyone,” he said.
“It’s a good mix in the changing room with experienced players and young players. Then you follow the leader, the manager. Every player is important at this stage of the competition. Any player can be decisive,” he said.
Lloris said the comeback win in Amsterdam showed the strength of Spurs as a collective unit.
“It was the togetherness — players with the staff, with the chairman, with the fans. It was one of the best moments in my career,” said the French World Cup winning goalkeeper.
“And obviously we want a better moment after the game tomorrow. We know football is a collective sport and we spend so much time together,” he added.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis)