Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino admits a call over whether to start Harry Kane in the Champions League final could prove decisive to their hopes of beating Liverpool.
England captain Kane has not featured for Spurs since suffering ankle ligament damage in the first leg of the quarter-final triumph over Manchester City on April 9.
The striker has resumed training and Pochettino hopes he will be fit enough to be involved in Madrid on June 1, along with team-mates Harry Winks, Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen.
However, he concedes he is likely to live or die by whatever decision he makes regarding Kane and the starting line-up.
“We are happy,” Pochettino said about Kane’s fitness, as per the Observer. “Whether to start him is a point we’re thinking about a lot. It is a decision that, one way or the other, will be judged after the game.
“If we win: fantastic decision. If we lose: s*** decision, and you are going to kill me.
Two big games.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 25, 2019
“We are working that everyone will be available to play and, at the moment, Harry is on course. Harry, Davinson, Harry Winks and Jan – the evolution today is very good. And then it’s going to be our decision to see if they will be available from the beginning.”
Pochettino was emotional after each of Spurs’ dramatic victories over City and Ajax in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, something he says is no surprise to those who know him best.
“My mother said to me, ‘You are a llorona’ – a person who cries often and a lot,” he said. “My mum and my two brothers are different, and my dad is more strong. I am strong but very emotional and I cry.
“Maybe I listen to some music in my car, it translates to some moment in my life and I start to cry. When I arrive home, my wife says, ‘What happened?’ I say, ‘I was listening to some music that translated to a moment 30 years ago in Argentina!’ And she will say, ‘You are crazy.'”
But Pochettino is acutely aware of the importance of managing the emotion of the occasion when Spurs and Liverpool walk out onto the Wanda Metropolitano pitch.
“What I learned from playing the 1992 Copa Libertadores semi-final and final with Newell’s Old Boys was that your emotional state is decisive,” he added. “It’s not tactics, it’s not physicality. It’s about how the emotion will be the trigger for your talent, how you manage it.”
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