Mauricio Pochettino insists the Europa League has lost none of its significance for Tottenham despite their Premier League title challenge.
Pochettino has always taken the Europa League seriously during his time in charge at White Hart Lane, but Spurs’ rise to second in the Premier League has led to suggestions the Argentine might sacrifice the European campaign.
They were knocked out by Fiorentina at the same stage last year, just three days before a Capital One Cup final clash with Chelsea, but this time around Pochettino insists he will maintain his stance on wanting to win in Europe.
“For us it is important, too,” he said.
“I can understand, because our position in the table it is a very big opportunity to fight for the Premier League but, for me, when you’re in a big club like Tottenham you need to fight in every competition and every game.
“I don’t think too much into the future. The most important game is tomorrow and the Premier League can wait for a few weeks. When you manage Tottenham, you need to try and win every competition and every game.”
Tottenham lost 2-0 in the Stadio Artemio Franchi 12 months ago, but Pochettino is expecting a different tie this season, with their hosts sitting third in Serie A.
“Last season was very different, some different players and we are in a different period now,” he said.
“Fiorentina are the same because they have a different coach and different players, too. It is a very different team to last season, a different game completely.
“My attitude was to try and win the game (last year) and tomorrow it is the same. It is a very important competition for us, we have a strong squad.”
Pochettino also concurred with Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa, who said the impending game has the feel of a Champions League meeting.
“I agree with Paulo,” added Pochettino.
“The characteristics and the level we show in the Premier League and the level of Fiorentina in the Serie A, both teams have a lot of quality and good players.
“I agree with him, we need to work very hard to play again next season but in the Champions League against Fiorentina.”