Saturday 23 March 2019

Pochettino will rest big names against Cypriots

Tottenham H v APOEL, Live, Eir Sport 1, KO 7.45

(l-r) Tottenham Hostpur’s Dele Alli and manager Mauricio Pochettino are pictured during yesterday’s press conference
(l-r) Tottenham Hostpur’s Dele Alli and manager Mauricio Pochettino are pictured during yesterday’s press conference

Harry Kane will be among five key Tottenham players rested against Apoel Nicosia tonight but Dele Alli will start, according to Mauricio Pochettino.

Kane, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier and Hugo Lloris were all absent from training yesterday, with Pochettino confirming only those involved at Hotspur Way are in contention.

Spurs have already secured first place in Group H meaning the likes of Fernando Llorente, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Juan Foyth are expected to be given a chance in the dead rubber at Wembley.

Nineteen-year-old striker Kazaiah Sterling and 20-year-old midfielder Luke Amos, both academy graduates, will also be in the squad.

Alli, however, who missed the first three group games through suspension, will play as the midfielder bids to recover both form and confidence.

"I think I am my own biggest critic," Alli said.

"Every time I know when I'm not playing well and if it's not going well for me, it's important that I keep working hard and trying every day to learn and improve as a player."

Alli added: "Obviously I would like to be at my highest level in every single game and every training session but I don't think that's possible.

"So I think it's been a good opportunity for me to learn more about myself as a player and as a person, so I'm looking forward to it and I've got to keep enjoying it."

Like Tottenham, Alli has saved his best performances for the Champions League this season as Spurs have now gone four Premier League matches without a win.

The dip has seen them fall 18 points behind Manchester City and four adrift of the top four.

"It's not unusual for a team to have a dip in form," Alli said.

Pochettino refused to be drawn on the comments made by former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg that he had "allowed Tottenham to self-destruct" during last year's game against Chelsea that handed Leicester the title.

The Argentinian also discounted reports suggesting Toby Alderweireld could need 14 weeks to overcome his hamstring injury.

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