Pochettino warns Tottenham to expect ‘tough derby’ with West Ham before Ajax clash

Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Mathew Ryan (centre) and Tottenham Hotspur's Victor Wanyama battle

Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Mathew Ryan (centre) and Tottenham Hotspur's Victor Wanyama battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (pic: John Walton/PA Images). - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Hammers have blown hot and cold under Manuel Pellegrini this season, but will be up for this fixture in N17

Spurs will host Ajax in the semi-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday, but first things first they must entertain West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team are third in the table after a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Brighton & Hove Albion earlier this week.

It made it four successive wins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the club and they have yet to concede a goal during that time, but West Ham will pose a threat.

Under Manuel Pellegrini, the Hammers have blown hot and cold this season, although this is the type of fixture the squad will no doubt relish.

“For us the most important thing is to see ourselves and don’t think about our opponents,” Pochettino said, when asked about the top-four battle.

“We are in a position where it is now in our hands to be in the top four and if we are capable of winning the next three games in the Premier League for sure we will be third.

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“That is the key, thinking about ourselves and we will see what will happen to the teams next to us.

“Saturday will be really, really tough against West Ham and it will be a derby and the three points are so important for us.

“What happens will happen in other stadiums, but the most important thing is we need to be focused on ourselves.”

Tottenham have enjoyed their return back to N17, but the first genuine local derby in the 62,062-seater stadium will be challenging.

West Ham have recently put in spirited displays in defeats at Manchester United and Chelsea and will be fired up against Spurs on Saturday.

A dilemma for Pochettino will be his squad selection with the Lilywhites in Champions League action on Tuesday against Ajax.

The likes of Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose are expected to be substitutes this weekend, but Heung-min Son will start.

He is suspended for the semi-final first leg after picking up a yellow card away to Manchester City and so will sit out the huge European tie in Tottenham.

Moussa Sissoko is still absent with a groin injury, but Spurs will hope Harry Winks can recover to feature against the Dutch side.

After reaching the last four of the European Cup for the first time since 1962, Tottenham will hope to progress even further, but firstly must remain on track for the top four by winning again at home.