By Will Butcher
Mauricio Pochettino wants his Tottenham players to treat their second-leg Europa League tie against Gent as a cup final.
Spurs go into the game after losing the first leg 1-0 to their Belgian opponents, as French striker Jeremy Perbet scored the only goal of the game at the Ghelamco Arena.
Speaking to Tottenham’s official Twitter account, Pochettino challenged his side to prepare for in the same way they would for a cup final, showing aggression and quality in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley.
“It is always important to prepare for a final,” Pochettino said. “Like we will play against Gent. We didn’t play well in the first leg and we felt pain in the first leg.
“In front of 90,000 fans at Wembley we need to show our quality and aggression form the first minute, and show that we want to win and deserve to be in the next round.”
"We need to show that we want and deserve to go to the next round."
Mauricio wants improvements from the first-leg defeat at Gent. pic.twitter.com/nEQcvwCVaj
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 23, 2017
Spurs come into the game after beating Championship outfit Fulham on Saturday by three goals to nil, thanks to a Harry Kane hat-trick at Craven Cottage.
Still competing on three fronts, Pochettino will be keen to make sure that is still the case come the final whistle against Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s side on Thursday night.
However, Pochettino reported that Spurs must do without senior duo Erik Lamela and Danny Rose as they are still nursing injuries.
Pochettino will be hoping for a convincing win against the Belgians with a round of 16 place at stake, as well as hoping to avoid extra time as they take on Stoke on Sunday.
In other Tottenham news, Harry Kane has revealed this summer signing is the most skillful in the Spurs squad.