He has just shared his pre-match thoughts with BT Sport, but I’m not going to bother typing them out because you can easily guess what they are (“it’s going to be a tough task”, and absolutely nothing of note about his team selection – especially the right-back decision).
Tanguy Ndombele is back for Tottenham, who demote Moussa Sissoko to the bench. Lucas Moura gets a big vote of confidence in the form of a starting place ahead of Heung-min Son, while Dele Alli also returns for his first start of the season. Davinson Sanchez has a big challenge on his hands as he is deployed at right-back (Serge Aurier has not travelled). Daniel Podence, Olympiaks’ talented Portuguese winger, may fancy having a run at him and Davis.
Olympiakos; José Sa; Elabdellaoui, Meriah, Semedo, Tsimkas; Guilherme, Bouchalkis; Masouras, Valbuena, Podence; Guerrero
Subs: Allain, Camara, Beniza, El Arabi, Papadpoulos, Torosidis, Radjelovic
Spurs: Lloris; Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davis; Winks, Ndombele; Moura, Alli, Eriksen; Kane
Subs: Gazzaniga, Son, Lamela, Wanyama, Dier, Walker-Peters, Sissoko
Referee: G Rocchi (Italy)
Hello and welcome. Now let’s see what Tottenham are made of. Last season they enjoyed the sweetest European adventure in the club’s history but ended up with a feeling of vinegary regret, losing a non-event of a final. Has that experience made them stronger and wiser? Or will they be weakened by a sense that their best chance for Champions League glory has been and gone? The distraction of the transfer window has definitely been and gone – for now – and Spurs were fearsome when demolishing Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday in what was their best performance since the Champions League final. So they’re looking good heading in today’s game.
But Olympiakos are no Crystal Palace. Despite never making it beyond the quarter-final of a continental competition they are an authentic European force, if only at home. Their previous victims in Piraeus include Liverpool, Juventus, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, AC Milan and, yes, Burnley. They have not lost any of their last nine European matches, and the three that they played in this stadium en route to this season’s group stages ended 4-0, 2-0 and 4-0 in their favour. In fact, they’ve only conceded one goal anywhere in any competition this season (in a 2-1 victory at Krasnodor). But they’ve yet to face anyone as good as Spurs, and their most creative player is 34-year-old Mathieu Valbuena, who is wonderful on his day but no longer used to playing at the intensity that Spurs will hope to impose today.
Mauricio Pochettino will certainly want his team to make a better start to the group stages than they did last season, when they lost their first two matches and wound up in a very uncomfortable position. Granted, they managed to extricate themselves from it but not in a way that can be easily repeated: far better, then, to avoid getting into such a mess in the first place. With Bayern Munich and Red Star Belgrade also in this group, it is important for Spurs to avoid defeat today. And winning would do them a power of good.
In other words: let’s be having you!