Tottenham: Pochettino on managing his squad; Dembele injury setback; club keeps tabs on Spaniard
Maintaining good form after an international break is not always easy, but that is the task ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham as they travel to West Brom this Saturday. Speaking before the game in his pre-match press conference, the Spurs manager has admitted that he will need to juggle his squad over the coming weeks ahead of seven matches in 23 days.
The former Southampton and Espanyol manager spoke about managing the tired bodies that often return from international breaks as well as the damaged egos of those players who have suffered bad results for their country. One positive aspect of Tottenham’s season thus far has been the performances of players hitherto consigned to the fringes of the squad such as Heung Min Son, and they look to have greater depth. Pochettino’s said:
“Because it is not only that we have one game, that we need three points against West Bromwich and then it is the end of the season. We have seven games in 23 days.
“After the international break there are players who have played a lot, that are coming back from injury, players like Erik Lamela that arrived back yesterday, or Heung-Min Son. We need to be clever in how we prepare the game.”
Pochettino regularly rotated his full backs last season, but now has the scope to do so in other areas of the team. Many pundits suggested that Spurs’ late season stumble last term was caused by Pochettino working his players too hard and ‘burning them out’. However, he has recently rubbished those suggestions; putting the disappointing results down to the mental effects of missing out on the title. Nevertheless, with Champions League football to contend with this season, the capacity to give players rest should pay dividends later in the campaign.
Elsewhere, Tottenham were dealt another injury blow with the news that Moussa Dembele has sustained a foot problem. According to Pochettino, the Belgian international is suffering from pain when he kicks a ball; a reoccurrence of an injury he picked up against Sunderland last month. Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko have been excellent in recent times, especially in the 2-0 win over Manchester City. However, Spurs will want the classy Dembele back as soon as possible. The former Fulham midfielder was an integral part of their first XI last year, and gives the team vital balance. Without the ball, he provides physical presence and bite in the challenge, while he is exceptionally hard to knock off the ball when Spurs have possession.
Finally, Spurs are continuing to keep tabs on Real Madrid midfielder Isco according to a report by The Independent. The club made an enquiry in the closing days of the summer window regarding a loan move for the Spaniard, but no agreement was reached. The former Malaga man has started just twice under Zinedine Zidane and has fallen down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu. Still a highly rated player, signing the 24-year-old would be a real coup for Spurs and he would bring a creative edge to their game that can sometimes be lacking.
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