Spurs boss plans to reward squad players and academy duo against Partizan Belgrade
16:01 26 November 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Mauricio Pochettino intends to show off the depth of Tottenham’s squad as they prepare to host Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League tomorrow.
Spurs have lost a number of players due to injuries, with captain Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue, Andros Townsend and Danny Rose all in the treatment room.
Nabil Bentaleb is fit to return but Kyle Walker is still out of action – although he is closing in on his return – and Federico Fazio is suspended.
However, Pochettino introduced the out-of-favour Vlad Chiriches, Aaron Lennon and Paulinho in the second half of Sunday’s trip to Hull and was delighted with their contributions as the Lilywhites came from behind to win 2-1.
The head coach has hinted that he will reward the trio, and he will also name academy prospects Dominic Ball and Harry Winks in his squad for the group match at White Hart Lane.
“It’s important for our squad to stay strong,” said Pochettino. “Maybe it’s impossible to give all of our players the facility to play at the moment, but during the season we have a lot of games ahead and you need all your players.
“In the second half at Hull we were very pleased with Vlad Chiriches, Aaron Lennon and Paulinho because it’s not easy to push them to work hard every day in training and then not give them the reward of playing – and this is important to maintain their confidence.
“That’s why I said to them after the game ‘congratulations and thank you very much’ because these players, who have maybe not been involved a lot in the last few months, gave their best for the team, and this is very important.
“Maybe they will be involved [tomorrow], as well as one or two young players from the academy – Dominic Ball and Harry Winks. It’s important for them to be involved with the first team and it’s an opportunity to show their skill and to show the reality that we have a strong squad.”
With Adebayor out of action and Harry Kane arguably looking most effective in a No10 role, Roberto Soldado could lead the line again against Partizan.
The misfiring Spaniard has struggled in front of goal again this season, only netting twice – the same as Adebayor – while the prolific Kane has struck 11 goals in 16 games for his club.
Nonetheless, Pochettino insists he has faith in all of his forwards: “Always a striker wants to score - this is, I think, what they are concerned about,” he said. “But sometimes it is a different period.
“At the moment we have Harry Kane in a good moment but maybe in the next game or the next few weeks Soldado or Adebayor will start to score.
“For me, they are big players and in football it always happens that the process is positive or negative. We need to be confident in them and they need to feel that.”
Spurs go on to host Everton on Sunday, having lost four of their last five home games in the Premier League after European outings.
Pochettino said: “Maybe the team feels more freedom in the Europa League than in the Premier League. It’s a different competition.
“It’s always different playing on Thursday and Sunday after the Europa League, but we need to play well tomorrow and also against Everton.
“Maybe we are more confident in the Europa League - maybe we feel more free to play and show the skill. But we need to show the same on Sunday.”
Pochettino believes it would help Spurs if they were allowed an extra day’s rest after their Europa League matches and had their following Premier League matches scheduled for Mondays.
“Maybe it is a good idea,” he said. “On Sunday we are in the same position as Everton – [although] they play in Germany [tomorrow] and we play at home. Maybe it is a good idea to play on the Monday. Why not?
“It is true [that in Spain and Italy] they look after the clubs who are involved in the international competition.
“One extra day is very good for the players because maybe you play in Turkey, Serbia or Greece and you arrive back at 4am. It changes your sleep and after you need to train on Friday and Saturday and then on Sunday you play at 1pm. It is very difficult for the player.”
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