Belfast Telegraph

I'll shuffle pack but need winning hand: Poch


Mauricio Pochettino celebrating Tottenham's progression on Wednesday
Mauricio Pochettino celebrating Tottenham's progression on Wednesday

By Carl Markham

Tottenham have to shift their focus back to domestic matters when they meet Manchester City again today.

With the memory of their Champions League classic still fresh, Spurs can dent City's season further if they derail their title push at the Etihad.

Having knocked Pep Guardiola's men out of Europe's premier competition on Wednesday, Spurs can strengthen their hopes of making the top four with another win.

However, boss Mauricio Pochettino knows a change of mindset will be needed.

"The Premier League is different and we are fighting for different things," he said.

"Manchester City are trying to win the Premier League and, for us, it's so important to be in the top four for next season."

With Liverpool having what appears on paper to be an easier run-in, City know that they can afford no slip-ups in a bid to defend their title.

There is considerable pressure on them as a result, but also on Spurs who, if they win, can put four points between themselves in third and Arsenal and Chelsea, who sit fourth and fifth and do not play until tomorrow.

"We need to assess the players and need to be sure we are going there competing with fresh legs with the possibility to fight and challenge them again," Pochettino added.

"That's why we're working so hard now to try to assess the players in the right way and try to mix players who can be competitive and have the possibility to win."

To get the result he needs, after such a taxing night on Wednesday, the Argentinian admits he may have to field some fresh faces.

"City have an unbelievable squad, they can change and rotate the starting 11 and keep the same level on the pitch," he said.

"With all the circumstances and some injuries, maybe we need to think about playing with younger players, not without experience, but with plenty of energy and keeping the same ideas - to be brave and try to compete.

"It's going to be tough but we need to think about recovery and try to design the best strategy to try to be competitive."

Meanwhile, City are determined to stop Jadon Sancho from joining Manchester United.

Sancho is being linked with a £100million transfer switch to Old Trafford this summer after shooting to prominence in Germany this season.

The 19-year-old forced his way out of City in the summer of 2017, and has seen his decision vindicated after flourishing at Borussia Dortmund.

City have been alarmed by United's courtship of Sancho and figures internally at the club are committed to ensuring the forward does not join their closest rivals.

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