LONDON — Mauricio Pochettino has said Tottenham Hotspur will not change their approach for Tuesday’s Champions League game at Juventus.
Spurs have taken seven points from league games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, and Pochettino said that had given them the confidence to win the round-of-16 first leg in Turin without sacrificing style or adventure.
The Londoners controlled possession in home wins over United and Arsenal and a 2-2 draw at Anfield, but their best results in the Champions League came with a more counter-attacking style.
They had around 35 percent possession in home wins over Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid and a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu — suggesting a blueprint for how to beat Juve.
And Pochettino said: “My idea is to keep playing the same way, to try and be a little bit braver if we can, while being clever because their level is one of the best in Europe.
“Watching the last few games, we are comfortable in the way we are playing and the shape we use [4-2-3-1]. I think the players know we don’t have to change too much and in the last three Premier League games they have started to feel good.
“It is important sometimes not to change too much, unless you want to rotate to provide more freshness to win.
“When you beat Arsenal and United, it means you have the quality to beat big teams in Europe too. Of course, Juventus is a great team, one of the best in Europe and they have a lot of experienced players who know what it is to compete in the Champions League — in three seasons they have played two finals.
“For us, we don’t have that. But our belief, our confidence, our form are good, and we will be ready to very competitive.”
Pochettino said Spurs would face a challenge “to beat a great team like Juventus, to score against a team that has conceded one goal in 16 games.”
He added: “But if we could win the first leg it would be fantastic.
“It was a very tough period, all big teams, so I think we showed great maturity, great character and the performance was so good. For me, it has been one of the best periods since I’ve been at Tottenham.”
Spurs’ 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday moved them back into the top four, and a step closer to both playing in next season’s Champions League and a second consecutive finish above their north London rivals.
Pochettino, though, said he does not care about the Gunners and his focus was on continuing Spurs’ quest for a maiden Premier League title.
“Arsenal is our sworn enemy and I know what it means, the derby, but we don’t care if Arsenal are behind us, or where they are. It is more important to build something special at the club with these players.
“I know it is different to when we play other big rivals but our motivation is always the same: to win. But we are winning because we are building something special in the Premier League, here in England.
“We are close but not so close to win the title — but getting closer. We must win all the games, and Manchester City fail every game.
“In football, things can happen. But it would be very difficult for this to happen.”
Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.