Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino glad of final date as it allows key men to improve their fitness

Three-week gap should help the likes of Harry Kane get fit

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will be glad of the rest (Adam Davy/PA)
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will be glad of the rest (Adam Davy/PA)

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is pleased there is a three-week gap between the end of the Premier League and the Champions League final.

The scheduling of the showpiece match in Madrid, along with ticket prices and travel, has been heavily criticised given the the final round of domestic fixtures on Sunday, while it is also in close proximity to the UEFA Nations League finals the following week.

But Pochettino does not care as it allows his injured stars – namely Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen and Harry Winks – time to recover and give his side the best possible chance against Liverpool.

Kane is expected to be fit after he was seen running on to the pitch to celebrate their semi-final win at Ajax on Wednesday while Winks is recovering from groin surgery.

There are hopes that Vertonghen’s injury, sustained in the first half at Amsterdam, is not as bad as it looked after he left the stadium on crutches.

“With our circumstance it is good for us, because it gives us time to recover some players like Harry Kane or Harry Winks and to have all of the squad fit to play the most important game in the history of the club,” he said.

“It is fantastic to have the possibility to recover the players and have the squad fit, to have more possibility to have more alternatives.

“For us, it is good today. Maybe for Liverpool, it is not so good. It all depends on circumstance, for our circumstance it is good.”

On Vertonghen’s chances of recovery, he added: “We need to assess, I think it is not a big issue because he finished the game, but it’s true that now he is ankle is swollen, but we hope it is not a big problem.”

It is a good job that Spurs’ top-four hopes are all-but sealed ahead of their final league game of the season against Everton on Sunday given their shortage of players

Spurs will only drop out of the Champions League places if they lose, Arsenal win at Burnley and there is an an eight-goal swing in goal difference.

Along with Kane, Vertonghen and Winks, Davinson Sanchez is definitely injured while Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama will be assessed.

To make matters worse Son Heung-min and Juan Foyth begin three-match bans for their red cards at Bournemouth, punishment which left Pochettino bewildered.

“Of course we have Sonny and Juan Foyth with three games suspended – that is crazy, three games each,” the Argentinian said.

“I don’t understand what happened, first of all it was with myself (his two-match touchline ban) and then you see another example that it was only money.

“And now it was crazy. You can accept the red card and that the referee made a mistake but three games after a ban? What do you think? It’s not fair. It is not fair.”

PA

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