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Puel not taking Tottenham's attacking presence lightly despite Kane absence


Dele Alli scored twice against Southampton in December

Dele Alli scored twice against Southampton in December

Dele Alli scored twice against Southampton in December

Southampton boss Claude Puel remains wary of Tottenham's firepower despite the absence of Harry Kane.

Saints head to White Hart Lane on Sunday to face a Spurs side missing their 19-goal top scorer through injury.

But Puel knows only too well about their attacking prowess after his side were thumped 4-1 at home by Tottenham in December.

Dele Alli scored twice that day and Son Heung-min was also on target along with Kane.

Puel said: "Of course Kane is an important player for them, but they have other solutions, with Son, Alli, (Vincent) Janssen, (Christian) Eriksen.

"They have many offensive players of quality so they can do without him.

"It's a good game, a good challenge for us. A difficult game, but we like this game, the possibility to see if we have made progress since the beginning of the season - and since the winter when we lost at home to them.

"They were superior then and now it's interesting to see our progress."

Puel has his own in-form striker to give Tottenham something to worry about in the shape of Manolo Gabbiadini.

The Italian has scored six times in his first four Saints appearances since his £14million move from Napoli in January.

But Puel says there is more to Gabbiadini than goals and saluted his all-round contribution since his arrival on the south coast.

"The profile of Manolo was interesting for us because he's a clinical player," he said.

"But it's not just his goals, it's a good player because it's easy to play with him.

"His movement in the box is interesting. He's always available for his partners with good technical quality in the control and the pass, and to combine with him is good.

"I don't know if he can continue to score in every game because it's difficult.

"But he can give a confidence for all the players, like you saw with Nathan Redmond in the last game at Watford, and all the players like Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse.

"And for all the other strikers in the squad to see him and to play with him is interesting and will give confidence to all of them."

Puel could bolster his defence by handing a first start to Martin Caceres.

The former Barcelona and Juventus centre-half, brought in on a free transfer last month, has completed two full under-23s matches to build up his fitness and is now in contention.

PA Media