Spurs missing key men, but boss Pochettino has a plan
PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 January 2019
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Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Dele Alli will miss the clash at Stamford Bridge, but Tottenham’s manager is positive
Spurs will take on Chelsea this Thursday in the League Cup semi-final second leg hoping to see off the Blues on aggregate despite the absence of various key men.
Tottenham Hotspur travel across the capital to Stamford Bridge with a one-goal advantage, but with Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Dele Alli missing.
On top of this, the Lilywhites may also have Moussa Sissoko unavailable, yet boss Mauricio Pochettino has a plan.
Speaking after Sunday’s 2-1 dramatic victory at Fulham in the Premier League, he revealed: “Lucas Moura was training at the training ground, so he is going to be okay.
“We didn’t want to take a risk with him, but he’s nearly 100 per cent to try to help the team.
“Of course maybe it’s not going to be Dele, but we are going to have Lucas who can be on the bench or maybe he’ll start from the beginning. We’ll see how are going manage him now.”
In Kane and Son’s absence, the Spurs manager tried Fernando Llorente up front at Fulham, but the forward failed to impress.
He scored an own-goal, missed two excellent chances and was unable to hold the ball up and link play with his team-mates.
Pochettino hinted post-match Llorente was tired after playing the full 90 minutes and Tottenham look set to go with a false nine at London rivals the Blues.
Alli will join Kane and Son on the unavailable list with a hamstring sprain and Sissoko is unlikely to start either.
It means Moura will replace the England playmaker and Eric Dier should come in for Llorente, as Tottenham stick with three centre backs like they did at Fulham.
Paulo Gazzaniga is expected to start in goal, like in the previous encounter on January 8, as Spurs try to reach their second final under the management of Pochettino.
He guided the Lilywhites to the 2015 League Cup final, after a dramatic semi-final two-legged affair with Sheffield United, but they lost out 2-0 at Wembley Stadium to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
This would be a much bigger achievement, though, considering the issues the club have faced this season off the pitch with the stadium and more recently with injuries.
Pochettino said: “It’s a massive opportunity for different players to play. We’re going to go there expecting to win.
“Like I told you with Harry Kane, and now with Dele, we hope it’s not a big issue, but the most important thing is to believe.
“We are going to go there trying to win the game and to go through to the final. It’s going to be tough because Chelsea are a very good team, but of course we’re going there to try to win.”