For clubs competing at the top end of the Premier League, going strong in cup competitions, and competing in Europe the football season can be a long and exhausting affair, with several key players beginning to suffer from fatigue and injury. Tottenham Hotspur are no different in that respect, and today manager Mauricio Pochettino has hinted that wide-man Erik Lamela, who has been absent since October, may not feature for the club again this season, whilst left-back Danny Rose is expected to return in April.
Lamela last played for Spurs on October 25th, in their 2-1 EFL Cup defeat at Liverpool, after a hip problem plus further time-off for family reasons kept him out of action.
The Argentine returned to former club Roma to undergo treatment on his hip problem in January, and according to Pochettino is now fully concentrated on his rehabilitation from injury rather than grappling with any personal issues, yet the manager refused to put a time-frame on the winger’s return.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard on his compatriot, Pochettino said: “
I don’t want to lie to you and give some information that after you use, and you are right to use, but I can’t say one, two weeks, three weeks, one month or maybe next season, I don’t know.”
“It’s too difficult my position because we are assessing him every day, how he is in the morning, we prepare a plan, sometimes he is involved from the beginning in the warm-up with the team, sometimes he feels pain, we change the plan.
“Now it is day by day and we see. We hope he can be available again as soon as possible as that is our idea but we can’t give any more information.”
Despite the wide-man being absent for much of the season, Pochettino’s men have been faring just fine without him, and even have the bonus of remaining second in the table after Manchester City failed to beat Stoke during the week. For now, though, attention turns back to the FA Cup, and Spurs are in with a realistic chance of scooping the trophy, with a quarter-final tie against Millwall to come this weekend.
Although the impact of continually missing Lamela may not seem so great, they will have to see off this season’s giant-killers without flying full-back Danny Rose, who has been out of action since the end of January.
A more positive prognosis has been given on Rose’s injury, though, with the club announcing that he is progressing from a medial ligament problem as expected and should return at some point in April, according to Sky Sports.
“We’ll see (when Rose will return). I cannot give the date but we are happy with his recovery,” said Pochettino, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“We have one week and then international break, then we will see in two or three weeks if he can stay and train with the group, then we will see the right time for him to play.”
Focusing on the upcoming challenge, although Pochettino has tended to rotate his squad for cup matches, one ever-present has been the in-form Harry Kane, who has recently been named February’s Premier League EA Sports Player of the Month.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Kane declared that a change of diet in January has been behind his excellent form since the turn of the year, before paying tribute to the efforts of his teammates.
“My diet has changed since January,” said Kane, who already has 14 goals in 12 appearances in 2017, and on course for a second consecutive Golden Boot.
“I’ve got a new chef who I’ve been working with to help with my nutrition, to get me a bit leaner and quicker and that seems to be working.”
“The team are creating so many chances, with the likes of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, so I give all my thanks to my teammates for this award”.
It is surprising that Kane was even able to improve more so, on his form coming into the New Year. To say he wasn’t enjoying a purple patch would be an understatement, but with three hat-tricks this calendar year alone amongst his 14 goals, the 23-year-old is in the form of his career and is only seven goals away from equalling the 25 goals that were enough to land him the Golden Boot last season.
If this form continues, it will surely be a one-horse race as far as that accolade goes, hence the growing importance of Tottenham being able to win a trophy. Their weekend clash with Millwall, as well as being the final FA Cup game to be played at their White Hart Lane home, may be paramount, since it offers their realistic chance of winning any silverware this year, given Chelsea’s ten-point cushion at the Premier League summit.
A huge part of continuing the project underway at Spurs to establish themselves as one of the leading clubs in the country will be retaining the services of Mauricio Pochettino at the helm. Speculation has already linked him to Barcelona after current Camp Nou boss Luis Enrique announced he will step down at the end of the season. Now, he is reportedly on the shortlist to take over at French Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, if the club’s Qatari ownership opts to dispense with the services of Unai Emery at the end of the season, according to the London Evening Standard.
The owners of the Parc des Princes outfit have turned the Parisians into the dominant force in French football with their significant investment, however, they have been yet to deliver the ultimate prize of the Champions League. Under former Sevilla boss Emery, however, PSG have toiled in the title race compared to recent years and are locked in a three-way battle for the league alongside free-scoring Monaco and surprise package OGC Nice.
And now PSG’s shock 6-1 defeat at the Camp Nou in the week, in which they conceded three goals after 88 minutes to crash out of the Champions League after seemingly looking home and dry, has firmly put Emery’s head on the chopping-block. Whilst the current manager’s future is being pondered, though, it has come to light that the French side have been closely monitoring Pochettino’s progress since his stint at Southampton.
Pochettino is familiar with the club having spent two years there as a player in the early 2000’s, but given the fact he is currently under a five-year contract at Tottenham, it is unlikely Daniel Levy would welcome any external interest in the Argentine. Pochettino has also declared that he is happy in North London, and the club expect the 45-year-old to still be in charge of the club by the time they occupy their new stadium in 2018.
A great deal of the Pochettino project has also included investing in younger players who they may develop to supplement the side, as well as making full use of the club’s growing academy system. It would make little sporting sense for Pochettino to depart for a club whose ethos at present is to recruit via heavy investment, and it would seem he is equally more favourable of remaining at the club to reap the fruit of the club’s trust in youth, rather than jump ship too early.
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