Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham are prepared to face any Champions League team in last-16 draw

Jack Rosser
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Mauricio Pochettino says that any team Tottenham face in the next round of the Champions League will be tough and that he has no preference on who they draw next.

Having qualified for the the knockout stages finishing top of their group, with an undefeated campaign thus far, Spurs go into Monday’s draw as one of the top seeds.

Due to the rulings around the draw, no one side can face another from their group or domestic league, Pochettino could see his side drawn against one of; Basel, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk or Porto.

While many fans will be keen to avoid the the likes of Bayern or Juventus, Pochettino insists he will take any tie in the round of 16.

“No, no preference,” Pochettino said when asked who he would like to face.

“Whoever we draw we welcome. If you want to go further in the Champions League, every team that qualifies for the next round is a strong team.”

One thing that has aided Spurs in Europe this season is their deeper squad, having had more of an opportunity to rotate compared to last season.

Erik Lamela, who had to be left out of the group stage squad having been injured as Spurs looked to match the requirements, is making a steady return from injury - coming off the bench in the 5-1 win over Stoke City.

With a World Cup on the horizon, the Argentine will be keen to impress on the biggest stage, and is expected to be included this time around when Spurs submit their squad for the latter stages of the Champions League.

Pochettino hopes his compatriot can force his way to international recognition, but has emphasised his importance at club level first of all.

“Lamela will be important for the rest of the season for us,” the Spurs boss added.

“It’s always important to have available his quality, to make the team more competitive and he gives us that different option to play. I hope and I wish that the national team will call him, because he is a great talent and he deserves to be at the next World Cup. It is not my decision of course but I hope because his quality is fantastic.

“First of all he needs to show here in Tottenham that he should be selected for the national team. We are going to push him to show his real quality in the future.”