Pochettino ready for Barcelona test after ‘massive fight’ at Huddersfield

Mauricio Pochettino is ready for an altogether different kind of challenge next week when Tottenham face Barcelona in the Champions League.

The Spurs boss was delighted his players matched fire with fire in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Huddersfield to climb back into the Premier League’s top four.

Tottenham conceded 53 per cent of possession to David Wagner’s Terriers, but still carved out more chances and Pochettino said it was a case of horses for courses when asked if the pattern would be repeated at a sold-out Wembley on Wednesday.

“I cannot guess,” the Argentinian said. “We are the third or the second team in the Premier League with most possession, but today was a different game.

“It was a game where the ball was more in the air than on the grass. I think if you were here you realised it was a massive fight between both teams.

“We’ll see what happens on Wednesday. I’m sure it will be a completely different game than it was today.”

Tottenham refused to be bullied by Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium and took a 25th-minute lead against the run of play through Harry Kane’s header.

Kane was on the mark again nine minutes later, converting his fifth league goal of the season from the penalty spot after Florent Hadergjonaj was adjudged to have pulled back Danny Rose in the box.

Tottenham paid a price for matching the Terriers’ physicality, with Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen both replaced at half-time due to suspected muscle strains.

Both are big doubts for the Barca clash, while Christian Eriksen (abdomen) is in a fitness race and Dele Alli (hamstring) will definitely miss out.

But after seeing his side register their fourth win from five Premier League away games this season Pochettino took great satisfaction from his players’ whole-hearted commitment in West Yorkshire.

“That pleased me the most because in these type of games, first of all you need to be at the same level of aggression as the opponent is,” he added.

Huddersfield are waiting to learn the full extent of injuries sustained by Terence Kongolo (hamstring), carried off on a stretcher in the first half, and fellow defender Christopher Schindler (knee), forced off in the second period.

The Terriers’ winless Premier League start was extended to seven matches, but goalkeeper Jonas Lossl rated his side’s display as their best of the season.

Laurent Depoitre’s thumping first-half volley struck the crossbar, while Chris Lowe and substitute Isaac Mbenza both forced excellent saves from Paulo Gazzaniga.

“It’s difficult to stand here and say the same things every week because in the end we need points, we do,” Lossl said.

“But this was against Tottenham and it is another step in the right direction again, so we need to cling to that and continue this momentum.

“You can’t blame anybody today. We needed the luck as well, we didn’t have the luck, but with this effort the luck will come.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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