Mauricio Pochettino was critical of the Dutch FA’s decision to cancel all games in Holland over the weekend to give Ajax more time to prepare for the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday night.
Pochettino said it was ‘unfair’ before their 1-0 defeat by West Ham on Saturday and claimed his beleaguered players were struggling with the demands of a hectic run-in after the defeat.
His squad is still feeling the affects of a long season, with Harry Kane and Harry Winks definitely out of both legs of the Ajax tie through injury.
Kane will probably struggle to be fit for the final if they make it while Winks’ season could also be over after he underwent surgery on a groin problem.
Son Heung-min will also miss the first leg, though through suspension, while Moussa Sissoko is struggling for fitness.
However, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag insisted Pochettino will get no sympathy from him as he hit back at the Argentine’s claims about fairness.
“We get 10 million (euros) for playing in Eredivisie and they get many more millions for being in the Premier League,” he said.
“Is that not unfair on us? There are always differing circumstances.
“Everybody has different circumstances. You just have to deal with them. That’s what we do.”
While Pochettino appeared downbeat about their chances before the West Ham game at the weekend, he attempted to rally his troops when he addressed the media on Monday.
“You need to set your dreams to infinity and beyond,” he said.
“When you achieve things it’s because you dream them. To be in the Champions League semi-final with Tottenham was a dream five years ago – but we’re living the dream.
“You know we must always dream for the moon if you want to get something in the sky.
“We have a spirit in the team that we can achieve anything and all is possible – that’s our strength.
“We have a great opportunity to be here playing the semi-final. It has not happened often.
“We must show respect for our opponents and Ajax fully deserve to be where they are. It’s going to be a very competitive game.”
Midfield sensation Donny van de Beek revealed Ajax’s incredible season has taken him by surprise and insists they will need to be at their brilliant best once again when they face Spurs.
“It’s all going quite fast,” the 22-year-old said.
“Spurs are a great team with great players and we will have to be at the same level or better than we were against Real and Juventus in the last two rounds.”