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Thursday 20 September 2018

Pochettino: 'No malice in top duo's tackles'

Spurs’ Harry Kane
Spurs’ Harry Kane

Mauricio Pochettino says there was no malice behind the horror tackles made by Harry Kane and Dele Alli during the heavy defeat at Manchester City.

England internationals Kane and Alli were each shown yellow cards by referee Craig Pawson for their respective studs-up lunges on Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne during last weekend's 4-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium.

The pair are free to play against Burnley tomorrow after escaping red cards and subsequent suspensions as Spurs continue their search for a first Premier League away win since late September.

Despite admitting the challenges were mistimed, manager Pochettino insists neither player attempted to hurt an opponent.

"Sometimes you arrive late and you make some tackles that are not so good," the Argentinian coach said.

"When you play and don't win, you are disappointed, frustrated and you try to change and sometimes you make a mistake and sometimes you arrive late; that is football.

"But it wasn't with bad intentions to try to injure someone. Never with bad intention, only because the result wasn't good for us.

"Sometimes you want to do more, you want to run more, you want to tackle, you want to recover the ball and sometimes you arrive with bad timing but they are not aggressive in this way.

Tackle

"I think they recognise the same that it was a specific moment but the most important thing is there was no intention to do something wrong."

The defeat against leaders City was seventh-placed Spurs' fifth of the campaign in the league and leaves them one spot below their opponents ahead of the trip to Turf Moor tomorrow.

Pochettino was keen to point out that Spurs are not far behind the points tally they had at this stage last year and said he still has high expectations for the rest of the season.

"No," he replied when asked if he would accept a fourth-placed finish to retain a place in the Champions League.

"I am not a comfortable person. I love to take a risk. I am here because I love to take a risk. I feel that I am a winner.

"Sometimes the winner loses too and they need to lose to feel the pain. Pochettino admits Tottenham have missed the midfield strength of Victor Wanyama after revealing the tough-tackling Kenyan is close to ending his injury nightmare.

Wanyama (26) has endured a torrid season so far and not featured for Spurs for more than four months due to a protracted knee problem.

"We need to see how he reacts, his knee," said Pochettino after confirming Wanyama had returned to training.

"But it's a very good feeling from him. We will see when he can be involved again.

"Last season, he was such an important player for us."

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