Mauricio Pochettino is known for being one of the most demanding managers in world football, and former Arsenal star Robin van Persie was amazed when he heard stories about Tottenham training sessions.
Pochettino faces perhaps his biggest match since joining Spurs this evening, with the north Londoners hosting Dutch side Ajax in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Spurs remarkably overcame Manchester City in the previous round to reach this stage of the competition, and if they make it to the final it may, potentially, be an all-English affair.
Their Premier League rivals Liverpool have also reached the final four, with their semi-final first leg scheduled for Wednesday. Jurgen Klopp’s side visit LaLiga giants Barcelona before next week’s return leg at Anfield.
Tottenham are considered narrow favourites to overcome Ajax, though Pochettino will have to be wary given the Eredivisie outfit have beaten both Real Madrid and Juventus in previous rounds of this season’s competition.
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But their own defeat of Man City shows Spurs can match up with Europe’s strongest sides, and Van Persie, who used to represent Tottenham’s fierce local rivals Arsenal, believes they will be too good for Ajax.
“[Man] City had more class than Spurs in the quarter-final,” Van Persie said, as quoted by The Mirror. “They were the better team.
“I watched that game until the very last second and it was fantastic. It had so much excitement and drama.
“I still feel for Pep Guardiola. Is he ever going to dare celebrate a victory or an important goal again in future when VAR is introduced in the Premier League?
“I can see Tottenham doing great things against Ajax.”
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Van Persie admitted he has heard stories about Pochettino’s training sessions as Tottenham boss, and he continued to reveal the ‘bizarre’ things he has been told about the Argentine’s methods, especially when compared with Liverpool boss Klopp.
“It is very clever how far Pochettino has taken this team,” he said. “I have heard some great stories about how hard the players have to train under him.
“The amount of running is bizarre. I hear it is even tougher than under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.”