Champions League: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Ajax

Tottenham Hotspur are still “alive” in their Champions League semi-final despite losing 1-0 at home to Ajax in the first leg, says manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Donny van de Beek’s goal gave the Dutch side victory over a lacklustre Spurs in north London on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be difficult, but it’s still open,” said Pochettino.

“It’s about preparing for the second leg. We will try to win. It will be tough for us, but also tough for them.”

History is against Spurs as only one of the 17 previous teams to lose a home first leg of a European Cup or Champions League semi-final has progressed into the final.

The Premier League side paid the price for a slow start, with midfielder Van de Beek scoring the only goal on 15 minutes.

“I think the attitude was there, but we didn’t find a way to play,” said Pochettino. “We didn’t show the energy we wanted to show and the way that we conceded the goal was painful. We struggled in the first half an hour.

“The second half was much better, we forced them to play deeper. We pressed in the way we wanted to press. The second half gave us hope for the second leg.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp has said that his team will “suffer” in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final in Barcelona but will also have chances.

The Reds meet the Spanish La Liga champions at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

Klopp, who guided Liverpool to the final in 2018, said: “We were in contention last year, but they have been in contention for nearly 20 years.

“It will be so difficult, but I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity.”

Like Liverpool, Barcelona are five-time European champions.

Four of the Spanish side’s titles have come in the past 13 years. In contrast, Liverpool’s sole success since 1984 came in 2005.

Last year’s run to the final came after Liverpool had failed to qualify for the competition in the previous season. Barcelona, meanwhile, are on an unbeaten run of 31 home games in the Champions League.


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