BERLIN (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur remain a dangerous opponent even though they have failed to win a match since last month’s 1-0 Champions League home defeat by RB Leipzig in the first leg of their last 16 tie, Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann warned on Monday.
Leipzig host Tottenham on Tuesday, carrying a solid first leg advantage into the game, with local authorities giving the all-clear for fans to fill the stadium amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Nagelsmann said they will need all the support they can get against Tottenham, who have failed to win any of their last five matches in all competitions. That poor run includes being knocked out of the FA Cup on penalties by Premier League’s basement club Norwich City.
“We will need our fans to push us forward. Tottenham is still a good team with a lot of good players,” Nagelsmann said. “They are dangerous with their counter attacks. They have a clear plan, to go as fast as possible.
“It is not always impossible to do it the same way but we hope to play good counter-pressing. We do not think about Tottenham’s results in the league or the FA Cup.
“We won the first half (in London) and now we will try to win the second half as well.”
Nagelsmann’s team has also been erratic in recent weeks, having won only two of their last seven Bundesliga matches.
He said his players did not need a special wakeup call before such a crucial game.
“Our situation gives us a lot of motivation. We are third in the Bundesliga, still in the title race and are playing for a spot in the Champions League last eight,” he said.
“I will try to find good words tomorrow but any player facing Tottenham for a spot in the last eight who is not ready to give it all, is not the right player for the professional game.
“I want to beat Tottenham and I want to advance. It is not a duel between me and (Tottenham coach) Jose Mourinho,” the 32-year-old Nagelsmann, in his first season at Leipzig, said.
“Look at how many and what kind of titles Mourinho has won. I have won only a junior southern Germany title. So I would not call it the Nagelsmann-Mourinho duel.”
Portugal’s Mourinho is one of the most successful managers in Europe, having won eight league titles in total while being in charge of clubs such as Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He also steered Porto and Inter to Champions League success.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar