Saturday 1 October 2016

Mauricio Pochettino plots rotation as Tottenham target treble

Published 20/02/2016 | 12:41

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham side are still in the hunt for three trophies
Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham side are still in the hunt for three trophies

Mauricio Pochettino has hailed the mentality of his players and believes Tottenham's strength in depth will help them as they enter a run of five games in 14 days.

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Spurs host London rivals Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, their third game in different competitions in quick succession.

Pochettino masterminded a 2-1 win at Manchester City last weekend to put Tottenham second in the Premier League table and two points off leaders Leicester, before rotating his side and making six changes for a 1-1 Europa League round of 32 draw away to Fiorentina on Thursday.

The gruelling run of fixtures shows no signs of abating as Tottenham continue to chase three trophies before the end of the season.

And while Pochettino knows he cannot play the same team across all of the competitions, he believes the number of quality players available to him will mean they can fight for honours.

"It is exciting to go to the next round and be in the quarter-finals," he said of a potential FA Cup run.

"It is important for the club and the players. It is true we are in different competitions and have a lot of games ahead but it is for that that we have a strong squad and it is important to try and win and give our best in all the games we play.

"The mentality is perfect. The players want to play every game and they feel they are strong and can play every game and win the game but we need to carry on in the same way.

"It is important to look after every single player.

"It is important that we have a strong squad in this period it is important to use all, to motivate all and to keep them fit. It is big competition between them (for places) and that is a benefit to the team."

After Palace, Tottenham's hectic fortnight sees them face Fiorentina again on Thursday, Swansea in the league next Sunday, before London derbies against West Ham and Arsenal.

Spurs have already beaten Crystal Palace home and away in the league this season and, despite the Eagles now boasting former Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor among their ranks, the visitors to White Hart Lane on Sunday are in the midst of a terrible run.

Alan Pardew's men have not won in the league since December 19, with the FA Cup acting as a welcome respite as victories over Southampton and Stoke have guided them into round five.

While their form may not be anywhere near that of his own side, with Tottenham unbeaten in eight in all competitions, Pochettino is still wary of the threat Palace possess.

"We need to be focused on Crystal Palace, that will be a close game," Pochettino said.

"It is a very good team with good players. We have played them twice and it was very tough in both games. We expect another tough one.

"It is a different competition but it is like a Premier League game - it will be similar to both we have played. Palace have a lot of good players and are fast up front and strong at the back."

Pochettino is likely to once again shuffle his pack, with players such as Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela hoping to start having been on the bench in Florence.

Michel Vorm will continue in goal in the absence of injured skipper Hugo Lloris, and Tom Carroll also misses out with an Achilles issue.

Pochettino must also decide whether to take Dele Alli out of the spotlight despite defending the England midfielder after he appeared to kick out at an opponent on Thursday night.

Press Association

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