Spurs team news: Bentaleb set to miss West Ham clash but could return against Qarabag
Tottenham’s Nabil Bentaleb is unlikely to face West Ham on Sunday after being injured on international duty – but the midfielder could be available to face FK Qarabag in Thursday’s Europa League game.
Bentaleb has not played for Spurs since August due to an ankle injury, but he was selected for Algeria’s World Cup qualifiers against Tanzania – only to limp off after 37 minutes in Tuesday’s second leg after suffering a blow on the same ankle that had been healing for the best part of three months.
Tottenham’s head coach Mauricio Pochettino was highly unimpressed by the challenge – but he is hopeful that he will only be missing Bentaleb for one more match.
“Nabil is back from Algeria, he got a very bad tackle and it’s difficult for him to be available for Sunday,” said Pochettino.
“We feel sorry for Nabil because he was very close to starting to compete in the week that we played against Arsenal.
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“We were agreed with him that going to the national team was a good opportunity for him to start to compete again. This was one step back but maybe in the next few days he will be available to be selected, against Qarabag. It’s not a big issue.
“It was on the same ankle, it was a very bad tackle if you see it. I think we’re lucky and he’s lucky that it’s not a big issue.”
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Andros Townsend is back in the fold, having been dropped from Spurs’ squad for two games before the international break due to an altercation with a fitness coach, which was caught on camera.
“On Tuesday he started training with the group again with his team-mates,” said Pochettino. “For me, it was a problem but he has apologised to the people. “He’s still young, he needs to improve and we forget the past. If he deserves to be in the team and in the squad, for me it’s not a problem. We need to forget that and to give him the facility again to be part of the team.
“We have Clinton Njie back, he’s available now to be selected, we have Sonny [Heung-Min Son]. We have different options but he [Townsend] has the chance to be selected.”
Nacer Chadli and Alex Pritchard are still out of action, while Erik Lamela is suspended for Sunday’s game against West Ham after accumulating five yellow cards in the Premier League.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs