Spurs: attacker feeling positive; duo in doubt for CSKA Moscow; Guardiola eyes crunch game
Football is not completely deterministic; coincidence and good fortune are often key factors in successful sides and Spurs seem to have had some good fortune by retaining Heung Son-Min. The South Korean asked for a transfer following his return from the Olympics in Rio, but the club refused to let him leave. Since then, he has established on Spurs’ left hand side, scoring two goals in their victory at the Riverside on Saturday. Son moved to White Hart Lane for an Asian record of £22 million from Bayer Leverkusen last summer and was heavily linked with a move back to Germany. Quoted in the Daily Telegraph, Son said:
“I am very happy now. It was good to talk to the manager. All I have wanted to do is play in the Premier League, it is the best league. I am very happy to stay here and to be out on the pitch.
“It is difficult to say if I thought I would come back after the Olympics. It is difficult to answer. I don’t know how I have to answer. I am staying here and I am very happy I am staying. I like playing for Tottenham and I like scoring goals.
“I wanted to ask him to play more. This is true, every player wants to play games. The gaffer gave me a chance and I am very grateful to him, he has given me this chance to play. I am very happy now. He was very honest with me.”
With the rigours of Champions League football to deal with this season, Spurs needed more from the fringes of their squad. Pochettino’s men play a very intense and physically draining style of play without the ball, something that may have contributed to their dismal end to last season. The ability to rest and rotate key players is something Spurs fans will have to get comfortable with, and Pochettino has already done so with his fullbacks during his time in north London.
Elsewhere, team news has begun to filter through ahead of Tottenham’s crucial Champions League trip to Moscow to face CSKA. According to the Evening Standard, Pochettino is considering whether to risk Danny Rose and Eric Dier as the club wait to assess Moussa Sissoko. Following an opening game defeat to Monaco at Wembley, Spurs cannot afford another slip up or else they will be firmly behind the eight ball. The good news is that CSKA and Bayer Leverkusen drew in their first match, meaning Spurs are only a point adrift.
Finally, Pep Guardiola is looking forward to bringing his Manchester City side to White Hart Lane next Saturday, and spoke in admiring tones about the Lilywhites. The former Barcelona manager said:
“We’ve got the Champions League [against Celtic on Wednesday] and after we go to one of the best teams in the last two years at White Hart Lane.
“We’ll see how our level is there.”
Next Sunday’s game will be a big test for unbeaten Spurs, but also for high-flying City. They were hugely impressive in the Manchester Derby earlier this month, but have otherwise had a fairly comfortable fixture list. Pochettino’s pressing game could disturb them and Spurs are probably the most athletic and physically imposing side they will have faced.
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