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Spurs manager tells talkSPORT his side will go to Madrid full of belief they can lift the European Cup for the first time
Harry Kane injury news: Mauricio Pochettino hints Tottenham striker could start Champions League final on the
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has hinted Harry Kane could be fit enough to start on the bench for their Champions League final against Liverpool.
And he has tipped the England captain to play a decisive role in their all-English clash in Madrid, even if he does not make his starting XI.
Kane is facing a race to be fit for the May 1 showdown in Spain after suffering an ankle injury six weeks ago, missing nine games in all competitions.
Fans were encouraged to see the striker running again as he joined in the celebrations after watching his team-mates stunning semi-final comeback against Ajax.
But the striker has only just returned to first-team training and, speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, Pochettino remained coy on whether Kane would be involved or not.
However, the Argentine did hint that he could be Spurs secret weapon off the bench against Jurgen Klopps Reds.
His evolution is very good, this week he is so close to start working with the group again, but still we cannot say anything about if hes going to be available or not.
Daniel Sturridge’s contract at Liverpool expires this season and it looks certain that the striker will leave the club on a free transfer after the Champions League final.
But you can start the game and not be important, and you can come from the bench and still be the important player, the decisive player. The game can be 90 minutes or 120 minutes with penalties.
Spurs go into the final having already lost twice, both home and away, against Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
But Pochettino insists his team are confident they can see off the league runners-up and lift the European Cup for the first time in the north London clubs history.
Its a final, so its going to be a completely different game to the games in the Premier League, added the Argentine.
Lionel Messi reveals who is to blame for Liverpool Champions League collapse
By the way, in the last game we played at Anfield we deserved much more, and that gives us the belief we can beat them.
Watch a clip of talkSPORTs chat with Mauricio Pochettino below, and tune into The Season Ticket from 7pm to hear the interview IN FULL
Lionel Messi has defended Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde for the defeat against Liverpool, saying he and his team-mates deserve most of the blame.
Barcelona famously squandered a 3-0 first leg advantage at Anfield, falling 4-0 to the Reds in the return match of their Champions League semi-final.
It was the second straight year featuring a return leg collapse for the La Liga champions, after blowing another three-goal lead against Roma in the quarter-finals of the competition last season.
The result has put Valverde under pressure from fans and media, despite the coach having the potential to secure a second straight domestic double with victory in the Copa del Rey final over Valencia on Saturday.
Mauricio Pochettino issues Harry Kane injury update ahead of Champions League final
But Messi believes that criticism is misplaced, and thinks the players are deserving of most of the blame for the defeat at Anfield.
I think the coach has done an impressive job, Messi told reporters. I think in that elimination against Liverpool, he is practically blameless. We are the only ones to blame for that match.
It was unfortunate the match we played, the image we left behind. That happened two years in a row, that we missed out on the Champions League final. The truth is what happened cannot be allowed. We were playing a final.
He will be as guilty as everyone else in the locker room but the ones who [are most guilty] are us.
Continuing, Messi believes the former Athletic Club coach should be given the chance to keep the Barca job, citing his impressive tenure outside of those two Champions League setbacks.
I would like [Valverde] to continue, Messi said. You may like it or not, but as we play this year we can win another double. But this is a very big spot.
In these two years, two games were lost. It is true that they tainted us but beyond that, the rest was good.
However, Messi admitted the decision on Valverdes future, or on what lays ahead for the club is not up to him.
I do not have to think about whether to make changes or not, Messi said. We are all disappointed and very much, but its not my turn to say [whether or not there will be changes].
Not winning this final would be much worse than we are now, we have to finish well and think about that.”
Asked about whether he was left to think about the disappointment over the two Champions League defeats, Messi conceded it does haunt him.
Mourinho: Liverpool loss would be really, really hard for Klopp
[I will think about it] for all that generated this year to be in the Champions League final and how close we were, Messi said. Thats why I think we were all in our heads in the Champions League and thats why the disappointment was so great, repeating what happened in Rome.
But it is true that getting another double is important. Were going to feel weird because of what happened the other time.