Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino says his side are determined to fight off Real Madrid for a top spot finish in their UEFA Champions League group.
Spurs are in a fiercely competitive group that also includes Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia. But Pochettino has claimed that everyone in the group would be hoping to challenge for that coveted top spot.
Pochettino’s side will face Dortmund in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.
“I think Wednesday is so important, to start well in the competition and get the three points will be key to the future,” Pochettino said at his pre-match press conference.
“In theory it should be Real Madrid first and the others trying for second, but football is not about theory. Our ambition is to win every game.
“Real Madrid are on a different level: they won the last two Champions Leagues so it’s a different reality. I think it’ll be a very competitive group.”
Spurs will play Champions League football for the second year running but last year’s disastrous campaign still evokes painful memories for the Argentinean.
“Last season after the first game against Monaco it was difficult to change the dynamic. It’s so important to try to win the game. It will be tough, Dortmund are a great team, but in our mind our mentality is to win and be aggressive from the start,” he added.
“Last season was our first experience in the Champions League… It was a very painful experience because we couldn’t be at the level we needed to be, but now that’s not an excuse.”
Spurs finished second in the Premier League last season but their dreadful run in the Champions League saw them crash out in the group stage.