Tottenham outcast breaks silence on Pochettino treatment ahead of UCL Barcelona clash

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Fernando Llorente holds nothing against Mauricio Pochettino his lack of Tottenham opportunities. Llorente joined Tottenham in summer 2017, but struggled for game time in north London.

The Spaniard scored five goals in 30 matches, playing second fiddle behind Harry Kane for much of the season.

His second campaign has started much the same, not starting any of Tottenham’s nine games, and being given 29 minutes across two substitute appearances.

He admits he is finding it difficult to adjust to the role.

“For a large part of my career I have had continuity and confidence, but now I have to get used to this new reality,” he told Mundo Deportivo.

“It is not easy. It is a daily struggle with yourself because it is hard to accept the situation you live in. When you’re left on the sidelines or you are not called upon it is frustrating.

“But I try to continue training every day with maximum [energy] for when my opportunity comes.”

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The striker then added that downing tools – “lowering my arms”, in his words – “is not an option”, before being asked whether he’d sign for Tottenham again in the same situation.

“It’s not something I think about. The decisions we make in life are irrevocable and I will never look back with regret.”

On whether he bears any grudges against manager Pochettino, Llorente said: “I try to put myself in his skin. He has a complicated task because we are many and we all want to play.

“It should not be easy to leave out players who are training well.

“In my case, I am also aware that I am in one of the great teams in Europe, with a lot of competition in attack with Kane, who is a phenomenal footballer, and that makes it difficult to play with regularity.”

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Mauricio Pochettino *really* likes former Barcelona player Iván de la Peña. Speaking ahead of Tottenham’s game against Barcelona on Wednesday, Pochettino was asked about the prospect of facing Lionel Messi.

Pochettino was actually on the opposition side when Messi made his first-team La Liga debut against Espanyol in 2004. But the Argentinean does not recall the same hype surrounding his compatriot as he did with De la Peña.

“You say to me: ‘You played in Messi’s debut’…no, I don’t remember it,” Pochettino said.

“I was at centre-back and he played on the side. We didn’t face each other.

“When Messi made his debut, it was like another youngster that had arrived to the Barcelona team from the academy – like it was Xavi or Iniesta or Iván de la Peña.

“Actually, no. When De la Peña started to play for Barcelona, there was an explosion of excitement. I always remember Ronaldo saying he was the best player that he saw in his life and he played with.”

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Pochettino named De la Peña among his five “genius” players earlier this year. Bloody loves him, he does.

There may be “no good time to play Barcelona” but former Tottenham striker Mido is convinced Spurs have a strong chance of causing an upset against the stuttering Spanish champions.

Tottenham welcome Barcelona to Wembley on Wednesday for their second game in Champions League Group B with Mauricio Pochettino’s side in need of points after defeat at Inter Milan in their opening game.

Barcelona won their opening group game against PSV but have struggled since then, picking up only two points from their last three La Liga matches, including a shock defeat at Leganes.

“It’ll be tough but we’ve seen in La Liga that they’re not in their best form,” Mido, who played 63 games for Spurs between 2005 and 2007, told Standard Sport. “It’s not impossible to beat them, Tottenham have a good chance.

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