Sport Soccer

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Mauricio Pochettino hoping Spurs’ top-four bid will be boosted by Raul visit

Spurs visit West Brom on Saturday afternoon.

Mauricio Pochettino, pictured, welcomed Raul to the Tottenham training ground on Thursday
Mauricio Pochettino, pictured, welcomed Raul to the Tottenham training ground on Thursday

By Jonathan Veal, Press Association Sport

Mauricio Pochettino hopes Raul’s visit to Tottenham’s training ground can inspire his side to book their Champions League place.

The former Spain striker was at Hotspur Way on Thursday as part of his coaching course and made a positive impact, with many of the players posting on social media about having met him.

Spurs can make sure of a top-four Premier League finish this weekend if they win at rock-bottom West Brom and Chelsea fail to beat Liverpool on Sunday, and Pochettino reckons Raul has lifted the mood.

“It was a very good impact,” the Argentinian said. “Everyone here, not only in Tottenham but around the world, you admire a legend like Raul. All that means as a player but as a professional too.

“It was fantastic to share with him, the whole day (on Thursday), and say thank you to him, because to choose Tottenham and try to learn and see how we work, that’s massive praise to us.

“I want to say thank you too because he was open to meet our younger players too. It was fantastic, 45 minutes talking about his career, giving advice to the younger players.

“Of course always it changes the energy. It was fantastic for us. But of course, our challenge is to be in the top four.

“That visit helped us a little bit but (on Saturday) we need to be ready to fight. The battle will be massive.

“West Brom are showing great character in their last few games, the capacity to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and draw with Liverpool, they are doing fantastic in the last few months and of course they have the belief still (that they can stay up).

“We are playing to be in the top four and try to play Champions League next season. I think it will be a massive battle for them, but also for us.”

Tottenham will assess the fitness of midfielder Mousa Dembele after he limped out of Monday’s 2-0 Wembley win over Watford with a twisted ankle.

The 30-year-old, who has been linked with a move away from Spurs this summer, is expected to feature again this term even if he does not make the Hawthorns.

“We need to assess him (on Friday) because we are going to train now,” Pochettino added.

“It’s not clear whether he will be fit or not. But I think we need to wait until after the training and see if he’s in a condition to be part of the team or squad (on Saturday). Still we need to assess him.

“It’s not a big issue but it’s so close from Monday’s game. We need to assess.

“If it’s not possible (on Saturday) then for sure he’ll be available for Wednesday (against Newcastle) and the weekend (final game of the season against Leicester).”

Harry Winks, a potential replacement for Dembele, is definitely out with an ankle injury of his own.

Press Association

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