Mauricio Pochettino has hit out at the decision to allow Borussia Dortmund more preparation time than Tottenham Hotspur ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League Round of 16 second leg.
Dortmund played their weekend fixture on Friday night, losing 2-1 at FC Augsburg in the Bundesliga.
Spurs had a slightly more positive result, drawing 1-1 with Arsenal in Saturday’s north London derby at Wembley.
But Pochettino has taken issue with the scheduling, insisting it is unfair Dortmund were given an extra 24 hours to prepare for Tuesday night’s game.
“It’s impossible in this type of game, the last 16 of the Champions League – with how important it is – that one team have 24 hours more than the other to prepare,” Pochettino said in his Champions League press conference (via the Guardian).
“I think it is massive. I don’t understand that both clubs are not going to arrive in the same situation. It is not the same to have 24 hours more or less to prepare for the game. We must prioritise different things and we cannot work on the pitch. It is not fair for the players and for the team who compete with a massive disadvantage.
“We need help from the FA, we need help from the Premier League, and it’s true they need to be more sensitive to this type of situation. It’s difficult already and it’s going to be more difficult.
“Look what happened with Rennes in the Europa League. They cancelled their game at the weekend to help provide Rennes [with more time] to play against Arsenal. In Europe the FAs are more sensitive. It is a problem that we need to change if we want to help the English clubs be stronger in the competition.”
Tottenham will be wary of Dortmund making a quick start. If the hosts score early, it could be a cagey game for the visitors.
If Spurs manage to find the net, however, Dortmund will have to score five goals to progress to the quarter-finals.
Whether the fact Dortmund had more time to recover and prepare has an effect on their ability to turn the tie around remains to be seen.
Regardless of fitness, Tottenham will need to show a lot of mental strength to avoid a potentially big embarrassment.