Belfast Telegraph

Spurs fired up and ready for the packed schedule, vows Poch

By Phil Blanche

Mauricio Pochettino has refused to complain about Tottenham's "difficult" task of playing two Premier League games in the space of 48 hours.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola launched a fierce attack on the congested festive fixture schedule after his Premier League leaders beat Watford 3-1 on Tuesday night, saying playing every two days is "going to kill" the players.

Spurs entertain West Ham after beating Swansea 2-0 on a heavy Liberty Stadium surface on Tuesday night.

But Pochettino said ahead of tonight's London derby at Wembley: "It will be difficult for the players, but I am not going to complain.

"We are going to rest 48 hours until this fixture. We are maybe going to rotate and make some changes to bring some fresh legs to the team.

"This is an opportunity to play with the squad - and that is important."

Spurs have had to sandwich the West Ham game between the trip to Swansea and Sunday's FA Cup third round tie with AFC Wimbledon after an issue with the original New Year's Eve date.

The decision was taken due to "transport issues" after the Safety Advisory Group could only recommend a Wembley capacity of 43,000 on New Year's Eve.

"I know very well how is this business and it was impossible to play before," Pochettino said.

"Some teams play after Boxing Day, but I think we are going to arrive in the same condition as West Ham.

"We are going to take a good decision to pick 11 players full of energy who are trying to win."

Spurs crashed out of the Carabao Cup to West Ham in October, losing 3-2 after being 2-0 up at half-time.

Pochettino was accused of disrespecting the competition with his team selection, but he has insisted that was not the case and Tottenham's only crime that night was complacency.

"Review on the internet our starting XI and maybe you (reporters) change your opinion," Pochettino said of a team selection which featured the likes of Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Dele Alli.

"It wasn't on the bottom (of Tottenham's priority list), we took the competition very seriously with the idea to win and go to the next stage. That was the truth.

"The problem was 2-0 at half-time and we all believed the game was over.

"Now it's the Premier League and we need to win because we fight to be in the top four and higher in the table," added Pochettino.

Harry Kane is expected to return after dropping to the bench at Swansea because of a heavy cold.

But Rose is expected to miss out again after damaging the knee which forced him to miss the start of the season.

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