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first_imgTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says his side are not among the Champions League favourites this season.Pochettino guided Spurs on a memorable run to the final of last season’s competition, where they fell just short against Liverpool.They are preparing to begin this season’s campaign, with a Group B opener at Olympiacos, but the Argentinian is not thinking of Istanbul just yet.“No one today will give us a chance to be one of the contenders to be in the final in Istanbul but that is normal,” he said. “That makes it very exciting.“We know to repeat the same campaign we need to play in our best. It is so early to talk about the final but most important is to show our quality, our squad quality and do our best.“I don’t care if people think if we are contenders or not because we went to the final and have a possibility to fight for this title.“I don’t care. I am focused on starting this Champions League in a good way.”That could be imperative as in a group that also contains Bayern Munich and Red Star Belgrade, they cannot repeat their horrible start to last season’s competition.They had just one point after three games and needed an amazing set of results to make it through to the knockout stage.They will be heavy favourites to win in Athens on Wednesday night and Pochettino has urged them to live up to their billing.“We cannot talk in different way, a few months ago we played final of Champions League and (playing) Olympiacos will put us in this level of favourites for the game,” Pochettino said.“I respect the opposition and the history and it is going to be tough here. You need to show why you are favourites.“If you are better than opponents then OK, you were better but before the game in the Champions League you need to show full respect and Olympiacos are a very good team.“Their record here in this stadium in Europe is so good and it’s going to be a tough atmosphere, the first game of group stage and excitement will be high.“They will have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take the game in our best condition we are going to suffer.”last_img read more


first_imgWASHINGTON — The experiences that Ashton Carter would bring to the job of defense secretary are vastly different from Chuck Hagel’s in several important ways, starting with the fact that Carter is an academic and a policy wonk.How Carter would pursue President Barack Obama’s defense agenda — or use his influence to bend it in new directions — is less obvious.Obama was to announce Friday that he will nominate Carter as Hagel’s successor. Hagel was not expected to be on hand for the announcement, a Defense Department official said. Hagel viewed the day as belonging to Carter and did not want to detract from the focus, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly prior to the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.Carter would, if confirmed by the Senate, be the fourth Pentagon chief of Obama’s presidency, following Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Hagel.Carter has left an extensive paper trail from his many years in Washington, including three stints at the Pentagon, a trail that suggests a sometimes hard-nosed view of policy puzzles like North Korea and Russia.In 1999 Carter and former Defense Secretary William Perry co-wrote a book, “Preventive Defense,” spelling out dangers that, if mismanaged, could grow into “true A-list-scale threats” to the U.S.First on their list: the risk that “Russia might descend into chaos, isolation and aggression.” They called this the risk of a “Weimar Russia,” harking back to the failures of the international system in dealing with xenophobic Germany after World War I. They wrote of their fear that Russia “could fall prey to its worst tendencies.”last_img read more