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Tottenham Team News: Star Ruled Out As Poch Confirms Changes For FA Cup Tie
Tottenham will be looking to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup when they take on Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon.
Ahead of the game, Mauricio Pochettino has been speaking at his pre-match press conference this afternoon and he’s given reporters a team news and injury update.
Spurs have suffered no fresh injury concerns following Wednesday night’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea so Erik Lamela remains the only player currently on the treatment table.
The Argentinean international has missed Tottenham’s last 14 games in all competitions due to a niggling hip injury that he initially sustained way back in late October.
Lamela returned to full training two weeks ago but Pochettino has confirmed the attacker is still not ready to make his comeback and has now travelled to Rome to work with his former club during the final stages of his rehabilitation.
Lamela joined Spurs from Roma in 2013 so he knows the club well and has a good relationship with the Serie A giants so Pochettino was happy for the attacker to have a change of atmosphere in the hope he’ll be available again in a few weeks.
On Lamela, Pochettino told the Ham & High newspaper:
“He went there [Rome] now. They need to change a little bit the atmosphere and he has strong links in Rome. Not only he believes, but we believe, that it’s important to change a little bit in his mind, and he asked too to finish his recovery time there.
“I think the club – us, the staff – we all feel it’s right, that situation. We hope that after that period he will be available again to start to train with the team.
“It’s difficult for the player to spend more time out than he [initially] believed or we believed, and with the energy of the team, sometimes he’s frustrated that he cannot be involved – today it’s only him that is out of the group.
“He has a special link with a physio and doctor in Rome, and thank you to Roma for opening the door for him and trying to recover the player.
“Some of our staff is out there with Lamela and we hope that in a few weeks maybe he will be available again to be involved in the training sessions with the rest of the group.”
The Spurs boss also revealed that he’s ready to utilise the full depth of his squad and give some of his key men a well-earned rest for their FA Cup third round tie with Aston Villa on Sunday following the hectic festive period.
Tottenham played three Premier League games in just eight days over Christmas and New Year so Pochettino says the physical and mental demands will take their toll unless players are given some time off.
Therefore, the Argentinean coach has confirmed he’ll make changes this weekend but insists it won’t be the entire starting eleven as he still needs to show respect to a dangerous Villa side.
Pochettino is quoted as saying by Ham & High newspaper:
“I think it’s key, that [mental] area is key for me. The Premier League is not only tough because of the physical demands, which is massive, but mental too.
“That’s why it’s sometimes not only physical rest but mental that they need and they need to relax. If not they can maybe one day explode.”
“Of course it’s an important game for us [on Sunday] in an important competition, the FA Cup. Maybe it’s a good opportunity for us after a very busy period over Christmas to give some chances to some players that have maybe not played regularly.
“But we need to find a way to try to be competitive because we play again against a very good team in Aston Villa and we want to go further in that competition too.
“But we need to assess the players after this period and try to take the best decisions to try to help the players and the team and try to achieve big things – and one of the big things is to try to win Sunday’s game and go to the next stage of the FA Cup.
“I don’t know how many changes there will be. Not 11, but we cannot today have a clear idea. Tomorrow, sure, because we need to measure the levels of all the players properly – not only physically but mentally. Some players maybe need rest. We will mix maybe a little bit the starting XI from Chelsea with some players.”
The likes of Michel Vorm, Kevim Wimmer, Kieran Trippier, Ben Davies, Harry Winks, Heung-min Son and Vincent Janssen will all be hoping to get starts on Sunday as Pochettino looks to rotate his team for the visit of Aston Villa to north London.