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Pochettino: Spurs need to show Messi-like ‘desire and motivation’ to overturn first-leg Ajax defeat

Mauricio Pochettino has said that Tottenham should take inspiration from Lionel Messi if they are to overturn their Champions League deficit to Ajax next week.

Spurs slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium against the Champions League giant killers, with Donny van de Beek’s 15th-minute goal being the difference.

Having watched Lionel Messi almost single-handedly extinguish Liverpool‘s hopes of a second successive European final, Mauricio Pochettino has said his side will need to display the same level of ‘desire and motivation’ as his fellow Argentine if they are to progress to the final themselves.

“If we play like him [Messi] for sure we are going to have a chance,” Pochettino said in his pre-match press conference.

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“If we play like him without the ball, with the desire he showed yesterday, for sure we are going to have the chance to qualify for the final. If not, no chance.

“If we play like we played the first 20 minutes [against Ajax], it’s difficult to have a chance. Ajax weren’t better than us. It’s only in the moments they showed more desire than us that they were better. That is the key for football.

“To play Saturday against Bournemouth, we need to show the same desire. If not, it’s difficult to win. Wednesday [against Ajax] is going to be the same.

“It’s so painful when in the same semi-final you watch Messi play with the desire and motivation, and say ‘why did we not feel the same?'”

Spurs travel to Bournemouth this weekend knowing that a win will ensure they finish in the top four, although they have lost four of their last five games in all competitions.

Read: Pochettino accepts he got his team selection wrong against Ajax

See also: 10 best quotes about Lionel Messi