Nagelsmann refutes Mourinho claims; sends warning over Spurs
RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann has urged his side to finish the job against Tottenham on Tuesday and reach first Champions League quarter-final in their short history.
The German side, who were only formed 10 years ago, lead 1-0 after the first leg of the last-16 tie and are heavy favourites to progress.
They outplayed last season’s beaten finalists in north London and should have had more than Timo Werner’s second-half penalty to show for their dominance.
Leipzig are in uncharted territory, though, having never previously played a knockout tie at this level, and Nagelsmann wants his men to create history.
“The chance of a Champions League quarter-final is extremely good,” he said.
“Any athlete who has the chance to play against Tottenham in a round of 16 and doesn’t go to the limit is out of place.”
Leipzig not only have home advantage, but also the benefit of coming up against a side ravaged by injury. Winger Steven Bergwijn is the latest player to join Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Moussa Sissoko in the injury room.
But Nagelsmann insists Spurs will still pose a threat.
“It is still a good team with a lot of good players,” he added at his pre-match press conference.
“They counter well and have a clear game plan. It is important that we do it the same way as in the first leg in London.
“But we are not thinking about the last games, but the upcoming match.”
Nagelsmann refutes ‘Baby Mourinho’ label
This tie has been pitched as master versus apprentice given Nagelsmann, the youngest manager in Bundesliga history when he took over at Hoffenheim aged 28, was nicknamed ‘Baby Mourinho’.
But the 32-year-old said: “It’s not a duel between two equals. I’m not thinking about that too much.
“I want to get through with my team. But RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur is definitely a game between two equal teams.”
Nagelsmann confirmed Werner should be fit to start after he was injured at the weekend in the 0-0 draw with Wolfsburg.