Spurs boss: Jamie Vardy’s suspension will have a ‘big impact’ on title rivals Leicester
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino believes Jamie Vardy’s suspension will have a “big impact” on title rivals Leicester City.
Vardy, who has scored 22 top-flight goals this season and been nominated for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award, was sent off in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against West Ham and will miss this weekend’s home game against Swansea.
His angry reaction to the dismissal also prompted a charge of improper conduct, which he has accepted – so his one-match ban could be extended.
“I think it’s a big impact for Leicester because Vardy has shown he is one of the best players in the Premier League,” said Pochettino. “It’s sure it’s a big impact for them.
“I think Leicester have very good players and are in a position that they deserve to be - nobody gave them anything. But Vardy is one of the best strikers in the Premier League and it’s true they will feel that but I’m sure they have different players that can play the same way.”
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Vardy has requested a personal hearing before a three-person independent disciplinary commission on Monday, in the hope of avoiding an extension to his one-match ban – and Tottenham supporters will be awaiting the FA’s decision with interest.
They are fully aware that public support is behind Leicester, who would be popular title winners after being 5,000-1 outsiders at the beginning of the season, and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas said this week: “I don’t want Spurs to win it, I have to be honest.”
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That has upset and even concerned some Spurs fans, given that Chelsea are yet to face both Tottenham and Leicester and will therefore have a big say in where the trophy goes.
But Pochettino said: “I believe in football the players are professional, the managers act professionally. We are exposed too much in the media, sometimes we need to speak and we need to say something interesting.
“Sometimes I am not the case, maybe my press conferences are boring. I can understand, but I feel very proud if all the players want to go with Leicester and want Leicester to win the league. I am happy, I think maybe we worried them a lot more than we believed.”
Tottenham and Leicester have dominated the PFA Premier League Team of the Season, with four players from each side being named in the dream XI.
Spurs quartet Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose all made the list, and Pochettino feels the Lilywhites could have had even more representatives.
“Why not? I think my players deserve all,” he said. “They deserve full credit for the season, for the position that we are in.
“We are very happy, we feel very proud about the players nominated. Now we hope that Harry wins Player of the Year and Dele Alli wins Young Player of the Year and [they both] achieve the trophy.”
Both Kane and Alli will have to miss Sunday’s PFA awards ceremony, however, with Spurs hosting West Brom 24 hours later.
“[They will be] at home, but this is normal,” said Pochettino. “It’s normal and all people can understand. It’s a shame but we play on Monday.
“It’s true that the players would like to go but I think the responsibility when you have a big game for us like West Brom on Monday is you need to stay at home, rest, focus on the game.
“After the game on Monday we have time for a party or to congratulate the players - for everything.”
Pochettino has a fully fit squad to choose from, apart from Nabil Bentaleb, who is out of action with a knee injury.
“Only Nabil [is out],” said the head coach. “Clinton [N’Jie] is available. Last week he was available but I could not pick him because there are other players in front of him. This week he was been training well and he will be available to be selected again.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs