Pochettino praises Valverde, says Barcelona are Champions League favourites

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has placed Barcelona as the favourites to win the Champions League this season.

Barca have not lifted the European Cup since 2015, but are currently enjoying a fine campaign – sitting top of La Liga by 10 points, in addition to reaching the final of the Copa del Rey.

The Spanish champions will take on Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with the first leg due to take place at Old Trafford on April 10.

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Pochettino has said that Ernesto Valverde’s side ‘have players of extraordinary level’, before admitting that Lionel Messi’s presence makes them the team to beat.

Messi netted a wonderful hat trick against Real Betis on Sunday night to take his tally to 39 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions this term.

Sky Sports quotes Pochettino as saying:

“If there is one favourite team to win Champions League it is Barcelona. Valverde is doing a great job. They have players of extraordinary level, and then they have Lionel Messi.”

Tottenham, meanwhile, were paired with Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and will host their domestic rivals in the first leg on April 9.