Player welfare comes first for Tottenham boss Pochettino

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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is not prepared to risk the well-being of his squad in pursuit of silverware.

Spurs return to action in the Carabao Cup at West Ham on Wednesday, just 24 hours after their 1-0 Premier League defeat to Manchester City on Monday.

That would have been a quick turnaround anyway, but it will be made even worse by the heavy condition of the Wembley pitch due to Sunday’s NFL game.

Tottenham’s fixture congestion is of their own making, as delays to their new stadium and the arrangement of the NFL game meant they had to shoehorn the City game in so close to EFL Cup duty.

Plenty has been said about Spurs’ wait for trophies and the Carabao Cup is a chance to end the drought, but Pochettino is not prepared to risk his big guns at the London Stadium on Wednesday night.

“I can put out the same players (as Monday) with a risk that they become injured,” Pochettino said.

“It is so difficult, it is not easy. We are going to assess all the players and it is less than 48 hours to compete again having had the circumstance of playing on a pitch that is so difficult to play on – it was tough and a very competitive game.

“We will see which players can repeat, some can be on the bench and some they need to rest.

“I think we are in a period in the season that is different to when Christmas arrives and when it is a normal season that you can prepare yourself to compete during 10 months.

“A lot of players didn’t have a pre-season, that is why it is so difficult.

“My feeling is that it is going to be difficult to repeat some players. I don’t believe too many players will be ready and fresh to play.

“We are going to use players that normally are not involved in the last few games and of course we are going to have the opportunity to see them and give the opportunity to play.

“Will be very competitive, it is a derby. Of course there are no excuses, no complaints and on Wednesday (we will be) ready again to compete and try to win.”

One player who may feature against the Hammers is Dele Alli, fresh from signing his bumper new six-year contract.

Alli was a second-half substitute against City on Monday in his first appearance in a month following a hamstring injury.

“We will see, maybe if he feels well maybe he will be available to play from the beginning on Wednesday, we will see if he can play an hour or 70 minutes.

“But we need to assess him every day to try to be consistent in the training and play more and more in the games.”

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