A win over Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley tonight would improve Tottenham’s chances of reaching the knock-out stages as they prepare for a month that could shape their season

During the champions league press briefing, Pochettino acknowledges the strength of Europe’s top clubs,but he dared the players/fans to dream. “It’s true, it will be difficult to win the Champions League but you need to believe you can compete with Real, Barcelona, Bayern,” he said. “They might be at the top now but anything can happen. When Marseille and Ajax won the Champions League [in 1993 and 1995 respectively], they deserved it because they had unbelievable teams.

In recent seasons, Europe’s premier club competition has appeared repetitive in the latter stages. Real Madrid have reached the semi-finals every year since 2011, winning it twice.

Bayern Munich have missed the last four just once in that period, and while Barcelona were knocked out in the quarter-finals in 2014 and 2016, they have won the trophy four times since 2006.

On the face of it, there appears little chance of clubs like us, Ajax, Porto or Marseille becoming genuine contenders — much less Nottingham Forest, Celtic or Steaua Bucharest, who are also previous winners.

“Football was different. Maybe the game across Europe was more competitive and maybe now, for different reasons, the focus is on England or different countries, but it is difficult to compare different periods in football.

“It is difficult now, it was difficult 20 or 30 years ago and it will be difficult again in 20 or 30 years’ time. Anything can happen.”

Tottenham reached the quarter final of the champions league in 2010/11 in their debut season and who knows they might go two step further and lift the prestigious trophy.