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Saturday 21 July 2018

Mauricio Pochettino plays down importance of Carabao Cup for Tottenham

Danny Rose is back in the Tottenham line-up
Danny Rose is back in the Tottenham line-up

Mauricio Pochettino believes winning the FA Cup or Carabao Cup would make little difference to Tottenham and claims the Premier League and Champions League are the "two real trophies".

Spurs have not won a major trophy of any kind since lifting the League Cup in 2008 and the last time they won the FA Cup was in 1991.

Pochettino's men have gone close in the title race for the past two seasons before missing out to Leicester and then Chelsea, while Champions League qualification remains essential ahead of their move to a new £800million stadium next year.

Tottenham host West Ham in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday but Pochettino insists the club's priorities lie firmly elsewhere.

"Our objective is to win the Premier League, to win the Champions League - for me the two real trophies," Pochettino said.

"And then there is the FA Cup of course I would like to win and I would like to win the Carabao Cup, but if you want to be a big team and fight for big things, I think it is impossible if you don't use all the squad and rotate in England."

Pochettino added: "The manager always wants to win. To win the Carabao Cup? Yes, of course but it would not change the life of Tottenham.

"The FA Cup? Fantastic, I would love to win all the competitions in the world but it really changes your life if you win the Premier League or the Champions League. That is the truth."

Danny Rose is set to make his first Tottenham start in almost nine months against West Ham but Pochettino admitted Erik Lamela is still not ready to return, despite hopes the winger would feature at Wembley.

Rose came on for the last 10 minutes of Tottenham's Champions League draw with Real Madrid last week but his appearance off the bench was partly forced due to injuries elsewhere.

The England left-back has been out with a knee problem that required surgery in May and has not started a game since playing against Sunderland on January 31.

Asked at his pre-match press conference if Rose could be in the line-up to face West Ham, Pochettino said: "Yes, we need to wait until tomorrow. But in my head maybe there is a possibility for him to start the game tomorrow, yes."

The news regarding Lamela, however, was less positive. Lamela last played against Liverpool, also in the League Cup, on October 25 last year before suffering a hip injury in training.

"Erik is not on the list, he is doing well but he is not available," Pochettino said.

"I don't know how close (he is). After nearly one year out, I cannot say tomorrow, one week or one month."

Mousa Dembele is back in training after also struggling with a hip injury but the Belgian is unlikely to be risked, with a visit to Manchester United in the Premier League to come on Saturday.

Harry Kane will also be rested, meaning a rare start for Fernando Llorente up front, while Michel Vorm will replace Hugo Lloris in goal. Victor Wanyama remains sidelined with a knee problem.

Press Association

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