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Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs: Poch’s message to team; squad players impress; Croatia star linked

Tottenham maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside yesterday. Spurs have not quite scaled the heights of last season in terms of performance levels, so to come out of the first six matches unscathed shows that they are a solid unit.

Heung Min Son scored a first half brace, and the visitors dominated the game and should have had the game sewn up by the interval. Ben Gibson pulled one back for ‘Boro, but Spurs held out to take three valuable points back to London. Mauricio Pochettino however has warned his side that they must be more clinical:

“First-half, we played very well.

“I think the way we played always pleases and it is true that this is how we want to play always, but we need to improve our percentage in front of goal, to be more clinical and score more.”

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With Harry Kane expected to miss the next two months with an ankle ligament injury, Spurs face a challenge to replace his goals. They have only scored five goals in their last five league games at White Hart Lane and have to start putting teams to the sword. The return of Moussa Dembélé after his six-game suspension has been welcome, and the Belgian powerhouse knits things together in together in midfield giving them good balance. The form of Son is also a pleasant surprise; the South Korean looked as if he would be sold back to the Bundesliga this summer but has flourished in recent games in a wide role.

Elsewhere, Pochettino urged Spurs supporters to have faith in the depth of their squad and stressed that they can cope without key individuals. Dembélé, Kane and Eric Dier all missed yesterday’s game due to injury but Pochettino’s side managed to take all three point regardless. The Argentinian said:

“They are very important players for us but we are talking always about the team, the squad and that is the most important.

“We need to believe and trust in our squad, it is for that we sign players.”

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Though yesterday’s win was a good one, Spurs success last year was based upon a core of seven or eight first team regulars staying fit and together for the whole season. Whether the North London outfit can rely on the outer reaches of their squad over a long period of time remains to be seen. However, the acquisitions of Moussa Sissoko and Vincent Janssen do give them more options.

Finally, The Sunday People are reporting that Spurs are interested in Fiorentina and Croatia midfielder Milan Badelj. Spurs have had success in the Croatian market in the past, with the likes of Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka moving to White Hart Lane. Milan are also interested in Badelj having tried and failed to buy him in the summer.

Tottenham Hotspur look well stocked for midfielders currently with Dier, Dembélé, Victor Wanyama and Dele Alli all capable of playing in either of the two deeper positions in Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1 system, but the 27-year-old Badelj might be eyed as cover.

Featured image: All rights reserved by Serg Hoholok

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