Mauricio Pochettino pays tribute to Ugo Ehiogu ahead of FA Cup semi-final

Mauricio Pochettino pays tribute to Ugo Ehiogu ahead of FA Cup semi-final

The Spurs boss has spoken highly of the former England international as he previewed his side's clash with Chelsea on Saturday.

Harry Wright

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has paid tribute to the club's U23 coach Ugo Ehiogu after the former England international passed away on Friday morning.

Pochettino released a statement after his pre-match press conference, in which he claimed Chelsea are 'one of the best teams in Europe'.

Pochettino remembers Ehiogu

Former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender Ehiogu passed away in the early hours of Friday morning after collapsing from a heart attack at the club's training ground on Thursday. 

"This is an incredibly sad day for the club and a tragic loss of a talented member of our Spurs family," Pochettino's statement read.

"Ugo was an extremely popular and respected academy coach, a tremendous influence on our younger players both in training and away from the pitch and he will be greatly missed."

Spurs on trophy trail at Wembley

Ahead of the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday between the top two sides in the Premier League, the Argentine admitted it is important the White Hart Lane side win a trophy this season to top off what has been a phenomenal season.

"We are having a good season in the Premier League and FA Cup and it’s true that we feel a little bit disappointed about the Champions League," Pochettino explained. "In the Premier League and FA Cup now we have the chance to fight for big things. For us it’s more important now to be focused and spend energy on trying to enjoy the game, to play under our philosophy, try to learn and grow up."

Despite not winning a trophy under Pochettino, the former Southampton boss explained how his Tottenham side have already come a long way in the three years he's been in charge in north London.

He continued: "It’s so difficult to win trophies. Three years ago when we signed here, I remember in the first few press conferences you are were asking how we can reduce the gap with the top four. That was the main problem that Tottenham had and after nearly three years, not only did we reduce the gap to the top four, we are fighting in the Premier League to win some titles."

Spurs to repeat White Hart Lane feat?

Spurs have already beaten the Blues once this season, when a Dele Alli headed brace secured a 2-0 win for the Lilywhites, but Spurs have been victorious over the Stamford Bridge side just twice in 16 meetings stretching back to April 2010.

The 45-year-old claimed he knows the game against the Premier League leaders will be tough and kept his cards close to his chest on whether Spurs' experience at Wembley this season will help his team.

He explained: "We will play against one of the best teams in Europe with a great manager, great players, players that have won European competitions and World Cups. I think we are going to play against one of the best teams in Europe.

"When we competed this season at Wembley, we competed in a new competition for us, the Champions League. Then in the Europa League we played with 10 men after half-time and (with the way) we played and deserved to go to the next round, I think it was a little bit unfair but that is football. It’s true that we’ve struggled a little bit to get good results there but we need to make Wembley our home, to get that feeling.”

Spurs have no fresh injury concerns ahead of this weekend's match and will still be without Danny Rose but the left-back is targeting a return for the north London derby in nine days time.