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> Tot­ten­ham in­juries test Po­chet­tino’s pa­tience <

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MAURI­CIO PO­CHET­TINO in­sists the frus­tra­tion of Tot­ten­ham’s re­cent bar­ren run won’t be­come a dis­trac­tion as his in­jury-plagued side look to get back on track in the Cham­pi­ons League.

A 1-1 draw against Le­ices­ter on Satur­day left Tot­ten­ham man­ager Po­chet­tino count­ing the cost of five games with­out a vic­tory.

West Bromwich Al­bion, Bournemouth and Bayer Lev­erkusen also held Tot­ten­ham to draws, while Liver­pool knocked them out of the League Cup.

Those set­backs have punc­tured the buoy­ant mood at White Hart Lane since their im­pres­sive win against Man­ches­ter City.

But Po­chet­tino knows in­juries have been at the root of Tot­ten­ham’s prob­lems and he hopes the re­sults will pick up once the wounded re­turn to ac­tion.

Harry Kane and Toby Alder­weireld are still re­cov­er­ing from an­kle and leg in­juries re­spec­tively, while Moussa Sis­soko is out sus­pended and Erik Lamela has been ill.

Kane and Alder­weireld could re­turn ei­ther against Lev­erkusen in the Cham­pi­ons League at Wem­b­ley to­mor­row morn­ing or in the north Lon­don derby at Arse­nal at the week­end.

Asked if he had en­dured a spell in man­age­ment as frus­trat­ing as this, Po­chet­tino said: “I don’t re­mem­ber hav­ing one.

“It is hard be­cause the play­ers come, maybe not in­jured, but with many prob­lems and maybe play two games and with the small prob­lems we have with Toby Alder­weireld, Harry Kane, Sis­soko’s sus­pen­sion and Erik Lamela on Satur­day.

“Yes it is true it is a tough pe­riod when you play, play, play that you need all the squad avail­able, but you need to adapt to the com­pe­ti­tion and we are happy. It is true we are dis­ap­pointed with the last few re­sults but in the same way we need to take pos­i­tives in and keep work­ing.”

Tot­ten­ham re­main un­beaten in the Premier League and are sec­ond in Cham­pi­ons League Group D, but they have a tough month ahead that will play a ma­jor role in de­ter­min­ing the course of their sea­son.

The crunch games against Lev­erkusen and Arse­nal come be­fore two more grudge matches against Lon­don ri­vals West Ham and Chelsea, ei­ther side of a trip to Monaco in the Cham­pi­ons League.

“I never panic,” Po­chet­tino said. “In foot­ball, no. When I go to the streets some­times I am scared to walk on the street be­cause you never know there are crazy peo­ple there, but in foot­ball never.

“In a bad pe­riod we are also very pos­i­tive be­cause we are un­beaten. Maybe we don’t win but we don’t lose and that is im­por­tant.

“But we have ahead two very im­por­tant games Lev­erkusen will be key for us and Arse­nal too be­cause it is the derby.”

Kane’s re­turn can­not come soon enough for Tot­ten­ham, who have strug­gled for at­tack­ing flu­ency and pen­e­tra­tion with­out their first-choice striker.

Vin­cent Janssen scored his first Premier League goal from the penalty spot against Le­ices­ter but the Dutch­man is yet to reg­is­ter from open play for his new club and would ap­pear to need more time to set­tle.

Po­chet­tino was also keen to stress his mid­field’s con­tri­bu­tion.

In the five league games since Kane’s in­jury, Dele Alli and Son He­ung-min have each scored twice but the likes of Chris­tian Erik­sen, Lamela, Sis­soko and Mousa Dem­bele have all failed to find the net.

“Dele, Chris­tian, all the play­ers in the sec­ond line, need to be more de­ter­mined to score,” Po­chet­tino said. “We can­not only have all the pres­sure on our striker. Our sec­ond line need to score more and maybe we are lack­ing that goal this sea­son.

“We don’t con­cede but we don’t score too much and I think we need to be­cause we are cre­at­ing enough chances but we need to be more de­ter­mined to score.” – AFP

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