Tottenham's Harry Kane may be rested for Europa League clash
MAURICIO Pochettino admits Harry Kane may be rested for Tottenham’s Europa League match against Monaco on Thursday while Mousa Dembele is definitely out as he is sick.
Dembele missed training on Wednesday after coming down with a stomach bug and key players like Kane could also sit out the clash given Spurs are already through to the knock-out stages.
A draw against Monaco will ensure Pochettino’s side finish first in the group, which would also guarantee them a seeding going into the last 32.
Kane, however, has played in all of Tottenham’s 21 fixtures so far this season and endured a hectic summer, after going to Australia on the club’s post-season tour and then playing for England’s under-21s.
“Is it a chance to rest him? Maybe yes,” Pochettino said.
“He is in the squad for tomorrow but it is true we need to assess him this afternoon and we have to decide the starting 11 for tomorrow.”
Pochettino has resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes in the Europa League so far and suggested he will retain a number of core players again.
“There may be one or two more changes but not much,” Pochettino said.
“I think the squad we have is strong enough to compete in different competitions but maybe if you compare (the team) to the game against Qarabag there will be some changes, but not too much.”
Pochettino added: “Always it is tough, it was a tough decision when we played against Qarabag and now it’s tough again.
“Always we share the information with the sports science and medical department. We make the best decision for every game.
“Tomorrow is a good opportunity to finish first and win the group - this is our objective.”
Nabil Bentaleb and Nacer Chadli will both be in the squad after recovering from foot and ankle injuries respectively.
Chadli has not played since the goalless draw against Liverpool on October 17 and he believes Tottenham can get even better with a fully-fit squad. Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard (both ankle) remain sidelined.
“It was frustrating for me to be on the side and be injured so you’re not part of the team,” Chadli said.
“But you’re always happy when your team do well. If everyone is fit we have more chances to do even better so it’s good some players are coming back from injuries.
“Hopefully if players don’t have so many injuries we can get even better results.”
There may also be an opportunity for some of Tottenham’s youngsters on Thursday with the likes of Tom Carroll, Joshua Onomah and Harry Winks all hoping for a chance to shine in the first team.
“They may have the opportunity to play in the next few games or later this season,” Pochettino said.
“They are very young but they show every day they have the quality to play for Tottenham.
“We have a lot of talent in behind, in the academy. Always the young players need time to develop and be mature enough in the head to play in the Premier League for a team like Tottenham.”