4-2-3-1: Lloris, Aurier, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Lamela, Alli, Eriksen, Kane.
Serge Aurier starts for Spurs
The full-back is a surprise inclusion at the expense of Kieran Trippier. Erik Lamela is also in the Spurs starting 11, while Heung-Min Son has to settle for a place on the bench. We’ll have the full line-ups for you very shortly.
Mauricio Pochettino speaks …
Asked if Tottenham would tone down their attacking tendencies ahead of tonight’s game, the Tottenham manager suggested it would go against God and nature … sort of. “We cannot change our principles. We will have to be aggressive, brave, respect our opponents. When I started playing I dreamed to be involved in games like this but now I think step by step.
“When the draw for the group stage happened everybody thought Real Madrid first, and Dortmund second. We won the group stage instead and now we are here. We have to show the desire to go to the next stage, play well, score goals, something which is so tough to do here. We must be competitive and keep going the way we are playing. Some of our recent performances were fantastic and we can certainly play again on that level tomorrow.”
Max Allegri speaks …
Asked about tonight’s opposition, this is what the Juventus manager had to say in his media briefing yesterday. “We know their strengths and we know that we will have to suffer for some parts of the game because Tottenham have four players with great quality in attack,” he said. “But we grew up, especially in terms of confidence, and we did that because we have achieved very good results in Europe. Only Real Madrid have done better in my opinion in recent years.
“I’m only sure that we will have to play very well technically because Tottenham will beat us in a physical battle. We need to play with attention and always try to keep our balance because it’s difficult for one team to dominate the other in such a balanced tie. Small details can make all the difference in the world.”
Early team news …
Blaise Matuidi, Juan Cuadrado and Benedict Howedes are all injured for Juventus, while Paulo Dybala has also been ruled out with a hamstring injury. ““We hope he’d be available, I cannot take risk,” said Juve manager Max Allegri. “He’s an important player, we can not accelerate his recovery and then lose him all the season.” After his fine performances in the group stages, the Argentinian will be a big loss and will be replaced by Douglas Costa or Federico Bernnardeschi. Claudio Marchisio started in place of Matuidi against Fiorentina last Friday night, but Rodrigo Bentancur and Stefano Sturaro may also be considered for inclusion this evening.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has a full squad to choose from, but has not included Toby Alderweireld in his plans for tonight. The Belgian central defender played for Tottenham in their FA Cup replay against Newport County last week after returning from a period on the sidelines with a ham,string injury, but was not in Tottenham’s match-day squad for their win over Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino was uncharacteristically tetchy when quizzed on Alderweireld’s absence in the wake of that win. He says he omitted him from tonight’s travelling party because the player is not yet fit enough. There is speculation that Heung Min Son could miss out on a starting spot tonight, as Victor Wanyama may be preferred to add some midfield steel.
The Champions League starts here …
After almost 100 preliminary qualifiers and 96 group games, we’re down to the final 16 of this season’s Champions League. Jose Mourinho observed back in November that for most teams, the tournament begins in earnest here in the knockout stages and Tottenham have faced few sterner tests so far this season than the one looming over two legs at the Allianz Stadium in Turin and their temporary digs at Wembley Stadium.
Second in Serie A and neck and neck with leaders Napoli, Juventus are unbeaten since 19 November and have conceded just a single goal – against Verona – in 16 matches since that reverse at the hands of Sampdoria. They will have their work cut out stopping Harry Kane smashing through the portcullis – the Spurs striker has scored 36 goals in all competitions so far this season and has bagged eight in his past seven games. He has failed to score just once in that run of matches; his team’s 2-0 win over Manchester United. Juventus rarely concede and Tottenham rarely draw blanks – something has got to give over what promises to be two fascinating legs.