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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

'All is possible in football': Mauricio Pochettino has faith Tottenham can win in Barcelona to carry on Champions League journey

Late winner from substitute Eriksen against Inter Milan means Spurs go into final group game away to Barca needing to match Inter's result against PSV Eindhoven

Teammates celebrate with Christian Eriksen, centre, after the substitute scored an 80th-minute winner for Tottenham against Inter Milan. Reuters
Teammates celebrate with Christian Eriksen, centre, after the substitute scored an 80th-minute winner for Tottenham against Inter Milan. Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has warned that "all is possible" in their final Uefa Champions League group match against Barcelona next month after a 1-0 win over Inter Milan kept their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.

The English club were in danger of limping out of contention as the clock wound down in Wednesday's Group B match at Wembley before a goal from substitute Christian Eriksen 10 minutes from time threw Spurs a lifeline in their bid to reach the knockout stages.

It was a dramatic end to a hard-fought clash that Tottenham had to win to avoid bowing out at the group stage for the second time in three seasons.

After taking one point from their opening three matches, Spurs had scored twice in the last 12 minutes to avoid an early exit against PSV Eindhoven earlier this month.

And this latest act of European escapology means second-placed Tottenham are now level on points with third-placed Inter.

They head to Barcelona, who beat PSV 2-1 away on Wednesday, to face the group leaders on December 11 knowing they will reach the last 16 as long as they match Inter's result against the Dutch club on the same night.

That won't be easy against Lionel Messi and company, but Pochettino has faith.

"All is possible in football. We have big respect to Barcelona, they are one of the best teams in Europe, it will be so tough. But we have belief and faith that we can win," Pochettino said.

"We need fresh legs, fresh mind and no injuries. We need to arrive that way in Barcelona."

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With Barcelona already secured of their place in the last 16 the Catalans may be tempted to rest players for the visit of Spurs to Camp Nou, but Pochettino is not expecting any favours.

"I expect that they are going to play with all the best players, but I don't know how they are going to prepare the side," he said.

"We need to approach the game in the best way and believe that we can win.

"What Barcelona is going to do is not in our hands. In the Champions League no one is going to give a present and not care about the result."

Inter manager Luciano Spalletti still expects the Italians to advance if they beat PSV because Barca are so formidable at home.

"As long as we do our job I think we will go through. It is about what we do," he said.

"They have got some top class players at Barcelona, they haven't lost at home in the last five years in the Champions League and they will want to keep that record."

Faced with a do-or-die situation, Pochettino had claimed it was "massive motivation" for Tottenham to silence the critics who said they had blown their chance to make the last 16.

His players seemed to have taken that message to heart as they dominated the first half.

Inter's knowledge that a point would send them through meant they approached their first competitive match at Wembley with extreme caution.

Content to defend deep for long periods, Inter's safety-first game-plan was almost undone when Harry Winks curled a superb effort against the bar from 25 yards.

Pochettino introduced Eriksen in the 70th minute and it proved an inspired move as the Denmark playmaker turned the game in Tottenham's favour.

Hugo Lloris made a fine save to deny Ivan Perisic and Tottenham finally broke through in the 80th minute.

At last unlocking the stubborn Inter defence, a sweeping move featured Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli exchanging passes before Eriksen was teed up for a cool finish from 10 yards out.