Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele could start against West Ham admits Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino
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Spurs manager reveals Erik Lamela remains absent from the squad for the fourth round League Cup tie at Wembley
Mousa Dembele and Danny Rose could both start tomorrow’s League Cup tie against London rivals West Ham, but Erik Lamela is still unavailable.
Dembele has made a welcome return to first-team training after suffering a hip problem last week, while Rose made a substitute appearance against Real Madrid last Tuesday but could now be named in the initial line-up for the first time since January.
There had been hopes that Lamela might also make his long-awaited return from injury against the Hammers - a year to the day since his last match – but Mauricio Pochettino says that will not be possible.
“Erik is not on the list,” the manager stated. “He’s doing well but still he’s not available. After one year [out], I cannot say tomorrow, one week or one month. It depends on his evolution.
“It’s the same process as Danny Rose, assessing him and trying every day to get the feelings. Then when he’s ready I will let you know about that, but still he’s not available.
“We need to be careful with him and all the players, like Dembele and Danny Rose. After a long period when you’re not available to play it’s so important, because for them the psychology when you only train and don’t compete is totally different.
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“Now they need to be involved with care, because always it’s risk. But I think we are doing well and we will provide the opportunity to play when we believe it’s right.
“Mousa is on the list for tomorrow. I need to decide tomorrow the starting XI but it’s ok, he’s been doing well in the last few days and it’s important to have available nearly all the squad.
“We need to wait until tomorrow [to decide on Danny] but in my head maybe there is the possibility for him to start the game tomorrow.”
Pochettino is set to rotate his squad tomorrow, giving a number of senior players a night off – but he is nonetheless hopeful of securing a quarter-final berth.
“We are resting players because they need to rest, because we don’t want to take risks,” he said. “Then all the players that we believe are available, without risk, to play tomorrow, they are going to play.
“We are forced to give some rest to some players. But we are going to play with the players that can be fresh and ready to compete tomorrow because it’s a derby and because we want to go to the next stage of the Carabao Cup.
“It’s so important that tomorrow, if we’re going to rotate and give the opportunity for some players to play, we keep the momentum and show that everyone can help and be a very important part of the team.
“That is so, so important because we have ahead a very busy schedule, and then with the next international break it’s impossible to stop. Like always, the players are not machines and they need some time to rest. It’s impossible to be 100 per cent in every single game.
“We play Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday again, and then ahead again it’s Real Madrid on Wednesday and Palace on Sunday. Then we have two weeks [off] but really the players cannot rest because they have travels and play for their national teams.
“I repeat, they are not machines and our responsibility is to know when, to find when, is the important period where there’s the possibility to rest them, to try to avoid risks, because I think that will be the key to arriving at the end of the season with the possibility to fight for different competitions.”
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