Spurs boss facing 'massive challenge' to use returning stars properly
PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 August 2018
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Tottenham Hotspur are set to be without a number of players for Saturday's opener at Newcastle United
Mauricio Pochettino will not risk any Tottenham Hotspur players if they are not 100 per cent fit for this Saturday’s Premier League opener at Newcastle United.
For the second successive season, Spurs will begin their campaign at St James’ Park and like in 2017, they will aim to start with a win.
A 2-0 victory was achieved at the Magpies on August 13 last year with Dele Alli opening the scoring, but the England ace may not feature this weekend.
He was one of nine Spurs stars to reach the last-four of the World Cup and Pochettino will decide this week if they are ready to play on Saturday after only coming back from holiday on Monday.
England fivesome Harry Kane, Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier may not be in the starting XI and eventual winner with France, Hugo Lloris, could miss out along with Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele.
It is a tricky decision for Spurs’ manager and he insists the fitness and health of the nine players is the most important thing.
Pochettino told the official club website: “It’s a massive challenge for us after we tried to provide the team with a good rest.
“(For) the players that were involved in the World Cup, it was massive and so important to give a very good rest and recovery after a very tough season and World Cup and now it’s a big challenge for us to try to provide them with the best tools to be competitive as soon as possible.
“Always we need to assess them. We will see on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week then on Thursday and Friday to take a decision for the team.
“If some players are ready, of course we are going to use them, but we are not going to take some risks because sometimes for one game, you lose the players for one month or two months and that is (why it’s) so important to be clever in the decisions that we are going to take.”
There is a chance Pochettino could be without all nine of the Tottenham players who made the World Cup semi-finals, but most likely a handful will play.
In addition to them, Spurs are without some other first-teamers for the opening match of the new Premier League season.
Juan Foyth suffered an injury to his thigh last month and is out for the foreseeable future, but Harry Winks is edging closer to a return.
Meanwhile Mousa Sissoko and Erik Lamela are set to be fit for Saturday after hamstring and muscle injuries respectively.
Victor Wanyama was struggling with a knee injury in July and doesn’t look set to play a part this weekend.