Friday 19 January 2018

Alderweireld soldiers on

Toby Alderweireld played with a broken bone in his shoulder this weekend, such is the defender's desire to help Southampton achieve European qualification.

Many assumed the 26-year-old's season was over after a bad fall late in the loss at Stoke last week.

The Belgium international instead broke a bone in his shoulder - a nasty little injury he somehow managed to play with as Saints drew 2-2 against Tottenham.

Alderweireld got through the match thanks to a concoction of grit, determination and painkillers.

He left the field proud with the performance but frustrated by the result as Saints twice took the lead through Graziano Pelle, only to be pegged back by Erik Lamela and then Nacer Chadli.

Still, just a point separates fifth-place Liverpool, Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs and Saints in seventh keeping the Europa League battle alive.

"It would be very special," Alderweireld said of reaching that competition.

"The desire is big and every week we give 100 per cent to win and to try to achieve that. It will be amazing.

"Of course we would rather like to have won, but all gates are open.

"We didn't lose so the next couple of weeks will decide whether we finish seventh or fifth or something.

"We will do our best. We are confident because of how we played today and we will see next week."

Southampton continue their top-six push at Sunderland next weekend, while Spurs face the unenviable task of overcoming Manchester City.

City have won six of the last seven meetings between the sides scoring 26 goals in the process, so Hugo Lloris could be in for a busy afternoon.

"It will be a good game in front of our crowd," the Tottenham goalkeeper said.

"We have one week to prepare it and I think every player wants to be on the pitch because it is exciting to play that kind of game.

"Before that, we need to rest a bit and prepare for this game as good as possible. We hope to get a positive result against them."

Lloris knows Spurs will need to produce a better performance than the one at St Mary's - a game which marked his return from a knee injury.

"After one month out, it was a pleasure to come back in the team," he told Spurs TV

"It is a good feeling, a good sensation and I think all of the medical staff and staff made a great job for me to come back as quick as possible.

"It is part of football and it was good Michel (Vorm) as well. He was present and did very well for the team, so that means there is a good spirit in the team, especially between the goalkeepers."



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