Competition for places helps us deal with injuries, says Pochettino

Competition for places helps us deal with injuries, says Pochettino

The manager has praised his player's desire to start games week in week out as injury concerns plague start of the season.

Francesca Byrne

Tottenham Hotspur will come across Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League tomorrow night. Spurs are currently one point above Leverkusen in Group E and the fixture could end up being the decider in the group, especially as the reverse fixture will be played two weeks later.

In his pre-match press conference ahead of the game manager Mauricio Pochettino addressed the strength of his squad after Toby Alderweireld picked up a knee injury at the weekend. The Argentine briefly commented on Alderweireld saying that “we believe it’s not a big issue” but the club need to await the results of this afternoon’s scan.

Strength in squad is key

With top scorer Harry Kane still out with an ankle injury and Alderweireld sidelined after being stretchered off against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, Pochettino stressed the importance in the quality in depth of his squad. The boss hinted that Eric Dier could start alongside Jan Vertonghen, dismissing that the position in which he plays will impact him. Pochettino commented that “we trust in him, his personality and his skill” and so “it’s not important the position he might play tomorrow” before adding that he see’s Dier as a player “who can develop his game in different positions”.

In the last month Spurs have also seen injuries to captain Hugo Lloris, Mousa Dembele and Danny Rose, but this has had little effect on their performances as they have only suffered one defeat all season. The Tottenham manager added that “the quality of the squad and the competition between them is important” and it is the belief that “everyone has the possibility to fight for a place in the starting 11”  has allowed his squad to overcome any injury problems and this mentality will help the club “achieve big things”.

Praise for Bayer boss

Pochettino had lots of praise for his counterpart, Roger Schmidt, commenting “I admire him a lot”. The Argentinean added that while he doesn’t know Schmidt personally he “liked him when he was at Salzburg” and has “seen a lot of games and [likes] his philosophy and the way his team plays”. The Bayer Leverkusen manager had previously praised Pochettino and commented that the two teams have a similar style of play. Pochettino responded to this comment adding that “it will be an exciting game” due to the “aggressive” nature and “energy” of both teams.