Friday 9 December 2016

Mauricio Pochettino keen to avoid overworking Spurs' stars

Published 13/10/2016 | 22:36

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham visit West Brom on Saturday,
Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham visit West Brom on Saturday,

Mauricio Pochettino admits he must guard against overworking his players ahead of what he believes will be a crucial period in Tottenham's season.

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Spurs will play their first of seven games in 23 days when they travel to West Brom on Saturday as they look to sustain the momentum gained from their superb win over Manchester City.

In that period, Pochettino's men face home and away Champions League fixtures against Bayer Leverkusen, an EFL Cup fourth-round trip to Liverpool, as well as Premier League games against Bournemouth, Leicester and Arsenal.

It will be another test of Tottenham's squad, which has successfully absorbed injuries to Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier in recent weeks.

Pochettino must also carefully assess his international players like the in-form Son Heung-min, who was in Tehran playing for South Korea against Iran on Tuesday, and Erik Lamela, who was in Argentina for their defeat to Paraguay a day later.

It means Spurs may rotate their starting line-up at the Hawthorns, with Pochettino admitting he has no choice but to keep one eye on the schedule ahead.

"Saturday we know is a very important game and important to try to win the game," Pochettino said.

"But in the same way we have many, many issues or ideas in our head because it is not only that we have one game ahead against West Bromwich, like it's the (only) game and we need the three points and it is the end of the season.

"We have seven games in 23 days and after the international duty when the players that play a lot, that come from injury, like Danny Rose, or players like Eric Dier or Erik Lamela that arrived on Wednesday, or Son from Asia.

"We need to be clever in how we prepare the game and the decision that we shall take to be ready to compete in Germany, Bournemouth, Liverpool in seven games."

Tottenham must find a way of juggling their European campaign with a domestic title challenge, just as Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea have done in recent years.

The victory over City suggested Spurs are ready to compete at the top of the table but Pochettino fears the international break may have jolted some of his squad's rhythm.

"I think it was a fantastic win. If you compete again after three days, and Manchester City was the first game in a run of seven, fantastic, because that is a big, big boost," Pochettino said.

"But it was at the end. And then the players go away. And now they come back, like Christian Eriksen is coming back very disappointed with the last result (for Denmark), or the England players.

"Now our job is to be more than coaches, it is to be psychologists too."

Press Association

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