Lionel Messi came 'very close' to joining Espanyol in 2005 - Mauricio Pochettino

Sherman Parsons
October 3, 2018

Striker Harry Kane, who scored seven goals in last season's Champions League campaign, did not seem daunted by the prospect of facing five-times Ballon d'Or victor Messi.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has refused to be drawn on what might represent progress for Spurs this season, arguing that dreams and reality are not in balance. "This is Barca. We have enough players, we don't need to depend on one".

"It's a good chance to win and focus on ourselves, maybe there's some pressure, but we want to show that people are wrong", Kane said in his pre-match press conference.

Serge Aurier, Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen will join Dele Alli in missing Tottenham's Champions League clash with Barcelona - but Hugo Lloris will start on Wednesday. We are not victims, though. When you're scoring as many goals as he is - 40, 50 or 60 goals a season - as a striker, I want to try and match that.

"He's definitely set the standard for the rest of us and it motivates me to get even better", Kane said.

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Messi has reportedly responded to Pique by criticizing Barcelona's defence, stating that the side has conceded way too many goals and that the defence needs to do more work. We must feel strong.

With memories of beating European champions Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley Stadium in the group stage last season, Pochettino was urging his side to enjoy the glamour of Wednesday's showdown.

Still, the Spurs boss is boosted by the return of goalkeeper Lloris for the Group B fixture in Europe, with the France worldwide available for selection after returning to training.

Spurs go into the match after three successive wins in all competitions while Barca are without a victory in their last three games.

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