Pochettino admits Spurs are ‘a little bit worried’ about Erik Lamela’s injury
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Mauricio Pochettino admits he is concerned about Erik Lamela’s hip injury, which is not improving as quickly as expected, while centre-back Toby Alderweireld is still not certain to return against Swansea on Saturday.
Lamela suffered a hip injury during a training session at the start of November but, one month on, there is still no timeframe for his return.
Pochettino said: “You know, it’s too difficult to explain because I’m not a doctor but we’re a little bit worried about his situation because his evolution is not in the way we expect.”
Centre-back Toby Alderweireld has also missing, sitting out the last nine games after hurting his knee in the 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion in mid-October.
And, although the Belgian is now close to a return, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to face Swansea at White Hart Lane this weekend.
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“Toby was involved during the week in the training sessions,” said Pochettino. “We are very happy with his evolution but there’s still a small thing that we’re not sure about, and we need to assess tomorrow if he can be available.
“It’s the same problem that he got against West Bromwich. His evolution is very good. He’s now involved in all the training during the week but he still feels he is not 100 per cent. We will see tomorrow, we haven’t decided [if he will play] yet.”
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There was better news for Tottenham earlier today as the club announced Harry Kane has signed a new contract, committing himself to the Lilywhites until 2022.
“It’s an important thing for us, for the club, for all,” said Pochettino, who pleaded ignorance when asked for further details of Kane’s deal, including his salary.
“It’s great news and we feel very happy because he’s once again showing his commitment with the club, with the project, and it’s something to celebrate for us.
“I think it’s fantastic. Always for the player it’s important for them to be calm in their mind, to be focused on playing and improving every day.
“When they’re involved in the negotiations like this it can always affect them. I’m not saying it’s affected him and his performances but it’s always important that now the deal is done, and he needs to be focused now on the future, in training and trying to score goals.”
Kane has become the latest player to be pictured with Pochettino in a familiar image which has been used on many occasions in recent months, whenever a Spurs player has signed a new deal.
Asked about the pose, Pochettino laughed and put his arm round Tottenham’s press officer, saying to him: “Maybe you can have hope, because you’re on my right side.
“Of course we laugh a lot about that. It’s nice, a funny moment. When you’ve done it with the first player you cannot change, because they become jealous – ‘why do you change the way to approach me or the picture?’
“It’s good. We started like this and, to the end, always we do it like this, the same way.
“How do I decide what to wear? It depends on the mood, on the week. There are many reasons to decide between the suit or the tracksuit.”
Asked whether captain Hugo Lloris will be the next player to agree a new deal, Pochettino replied: “I don’t know, maybe you need to ask Hugo and the chairman. Maybe in the next few days you will receive other news but I think it is not Hugo.
“Hugo is a very ambitious player but he is very happy here. Only I can tell you he is very happy and he wants success here and to stay here at Tottenham. That is his ambition.”
While Pochettino was in a jovial mood today, Spurs are aiming to turn around a run of poor form which has produced just one win in 10 games in all competitions.
Thankfully they have had a much-needed week off to prepare for Saturday’s home game against Swansea.
“In the last month and a half I think we all feel disappointed because, for different reasons that are too difficult to explain, we haven’t performed in the way that we hoped,” said the manager. “But I am very happy with this week.
“I think we played very well against Chelsea. I remember that after the Manchester City game we were all excited and, after Chelsea, we lost but we recovered the feeling that we can play well.
“This week was perfect because we could spend time together on the training ground, training hard, having a lot of meetings, and the answer from the players was fantastic. Now we only need to deliver it on Saturday and to do a great job to get the three points.”
Pochettino omitted summer signing Moussa Sissoko from his matchday squad against Chelsea on Saturday, and he publicly criticised the French midfielder afterwards, saying: “He needs to work hard and show in the future he deserves to be involved in the team”.
Asked how Sissoko has responded, Pochettino said: “His answer was good this week, I’m happy with the answer from him. He’s training very hard and then it’s up to me to decide whether he will involved or not, like always.
“Was it a risk to say what I did publicly? I think when you ask me, you make it public and I need to answer.
“If you ask me about Sissoko after Chelsea, I am a person that likes to answer, and when you ask me why Sissoko was not involved not in the squad for Chelsea I explain why because it’s a football decision, and when you have 24 players plus youngsters, always you know my position – it’s about football and that means lots of things. It involves many things.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs