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Spurs issue injury update ahead of wild month

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Tottenham Hotspur has weathered an injury crisis to stay in the thick of the Premier League title race, and is getting some of its men back in the fold.

Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele have been boosted by the international break, Mauricio Pochettino revealed on Thursday.

[ MLS: New 2nd youngest goal scorer ]

Dele Alli, Danny Rose, and Jan Vertonghen are going to require a bit more healing, though, via the BBC:

“Still maybe 10 days more for Dele Alli and Danny Rose is the same, one week more. Jan Vertonghen is a little bit longer. But the most important thing is that we start to recover players. It will be a tough month of competition for us.”

Spurs are two points back of the trio leading the Premier League ahead of a tricky month for all contenders.

Tottenham visits improving West Ham United on Saturday before heading to PSV Eindhoven and hosting Manchester City. A League Cup date with West Ham follows before a visit to Wolves and a return date with PSV. Then Palace, and another international break.

Get well soon, right?

PL Preview: Tottenham vs. Cardiff City

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Winless in the league through the season’s first seven matches, Cardiff City will look to take advantage of a banged up Tottenham Hotspur as they meet at Wembley Stadium on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

[ WATCH LIVE: Tottenham vs. Cardiff live on NBCSports.com ]

Tottenham will be without defender Jan Vertonghen who has picked up a hamstring problem and could miss as much as six weeks. Along with the Belgian defender, Spurs will miss Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele who are all sidelined with various injuries. Spurs will especially miss the creativity of Eriksen, who has been out since suffering what Pochettino called an “abdomen problem” he picked up after the 2-1 victory over Brighton in late September.

Spurs have been all over the place with results of late, but they’ve done enough to put themselves into fourth place in the Premier League table. They fell to Barcelona in midweek Champions League play, carved up by Lionel Messi and company. However, they’ve been perfect through Premier League play aside from a two-game losing skid back in early September.

For Cardiff City, manager Neil Warnock is fearing the sack if the Premier League new boys can’t pick up points, and fast. With just two points through the first seven matches, Cardiff sits in 19th, level on points with Huddersfield Town and Newcastle. They are without midfielder Aron Gunnarsson this weekend who is on his way back from a knee injury, while Junior Hoilett is reportedly fit and ready to go.

What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on playing a weaker team: “The most difficult game is the game that everyone believes, outside of the team, that you must win. For us it’s so important to be motivated at the same level. If not we’re going to struggle.”

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock on the possibility of being fired: “If we don’t get results, no doubt it will become someone else’s problem. Every manager is under pressure. You do find every big agent is pushing managers’ names. I have heard two or three be mentioned already for my job, but that’s not just me, every manager gets that.”

Prediction

This Tottenham team is banged up, but right now Cardiff City is just not scoring enough to be trusted against such a disciplined team like Tottenham. An early goal will put Cardiff out of its comfort zone, and it will be elementary from there in a 2-0 Spurs win.

UCL Weds. preview: Spurs, Liverpool get next tests

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Barcelona may be winless in three matches, with two draws, but that isn’t going to lead Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino down the road to peaceful, restful sleep ahead of their Champions League clash.

[ UCL WRAP: Man City wins, Real loses ]

Messi is also causing Pochettino another kind of trouble, the same pain felt by most of us writers when describing the exploits and greatness of one Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini.

“It’s difficult to praise him more,” Pochettino said. “You try to find the words that describe him. He’s one of the greatest players ever in football and for me, it’s a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy playing against him. It’s a game to enjoy, of course a game to try to win and to have the opportunity to play against Messi doesn’t happen often.”

Spurs will likely to have to cope with even more absences, with Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, and Mousa Dembele missing training to join Dele Alli and Serge Aurier in the crowd. And it’s unclear whether Hugo Lloris is healthy enough to take the reins back from Paulo Gazzaniga.

Tottenham lost at Inter Milan in its opener, could really use a home result against Ernesto Valverde’s Barca.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The other Premier League side in action is Liverpool, who won their UCL debut by holding on to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 at Anfield.

The task is at least equal but possibly more difficult on Wednesday, when Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds hit the road to face Napoli.

The hosts are quite wary of the threat provided by Klopp’s men.

“Liverpool don’t just have one good player – they’ve got several, especially when it comes to playing on the break,” said Ancelotti. “We want to attack and win but we need to be wary of that side of Liverpool. Klopp is a friend. He’s a very experienced coach and his teams have a very clear identity: pace, aggression and intensity. … Liverpool will play with very high intensity so we’ll need to be ready for that.

“It’s important that we show bravery and personality, implement what we’ve worked on and be ready to withstand their counter-attacks. If we play the way we know how, we can cause Liverpool problems.”

Elsewhere, American youngsters Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) and Weston McKennie (Schalke) could feature, while USMNT and Club Brugge goalkeeper Ethan Horvath isn’t expected to start when Club Brugge visits Atletico Madrid.

Full Weds. slate
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Red Star Belgrade — 12:55 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Schalke — 12:55 p.m. ET
Spurs vs. Barcelona — 3 p.m. ET
Borussia Dortmund vs. Monaco — 3 p.m. ET
Napoli vs. Liverpool — 3 p.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Club Brugge — 3 p.m. ET
Porto vs. Galatasaray — 3 p.m. ET
PSV Eindhoven vs. Inter Milan — 3 p.m. ET

Kane, Rose: Stopping slump all about Spurs’ mentality

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Tottenham Hotspur had to look — and dig — deep within themselves in order to snap their three-game losing skid (losses to Watford, Liverpool and Inter Milan) with a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, according to Harry Kane and Danny Rose.

[ MORE: Kane, Lamela propel Spurs to skid-snapping victory over Brighton ]

It wasn’t about tactics, it wasn’t about quality or transfers made (or not made); it was all about getting back to the right mentality — the one instilled by Mauricio Pochettino in guding the club to three straight top-four finishes. The level of commitment and application had dropped in recent weeks, Kane said after the game, which meant they had to get back to being themselves once again — quotes from the BBC:

“Today was about mentality, getting around the pitch, pressing high and harder and I think we did that.

“We could have put it to bed and won 3-0 or 4-0 but it’s good to get back to winning ways. The gaffer will be pleased and we can build on this.

“I didn’t see the penalty in real time, but I spoke to one of their players and they said it was handball. Sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t, but it was given and it worked well for us.”

Pochettino was delighted to get the three points, but to concede such an avoidable goal during stoppage time is clearly the part of the game which sticks out most in his mind — quotes also from the BBC:

“For everyone who watched the game, they were wondering what we were doing. The way we conceded was crazy. One minute from the end, we should be more vigilant and focused.

“To allow them in that position, it is painful to concede. We won but need to work and realize we can not concede this type of goal.”

As for the much-discussed fatigue which Spurs are said to be battling due to a summer of World Cup action, and a shallow squad combined with early-season injuries, Rose says no one at the club is buying it. Spurs’ left back even went so far as to say, “Fatigue is a bit of a myth” — quotes also from the BBC:

“We’re over the moon with the win. It was a sloppy goal at the end, and I’ll have to look at myself and my positioning.

“[On fatigue] The manager is a big believer that it’s all in your mind and he prepares us in the right way every week.

“He looks at how much we’ve done and how far we’ve run and he prepares us right for each game. Fatigue is a bit of a myth and we don’t pay a lot of attention to that.”

Well, that’s certainly one way to look at fatigue, even if it flies in the face of everything every scientist and medical professional has ever observed. That should work out perfectly for Spurs in the long run.

Pochettino reminds Spurs fans to ‘keep the balance’

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Despite the team’s recent struggles, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is not going to get carried away. Not when they win, and not when they lose.

Spurs have dropped three straight matches – all by a single goal – since defeating Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford on August 27. They coughed up a 1-0 lead at Watford, fell 2-1 at home against on-fire Liverpool, and gacked away a late 1-0 advantage over Inter in the Champions League in Italy.

Still, Pochettino is proceeding with business as usual, not wanting to react too harshly.

“I am so relaxed, I am so calm, because I know football,” Pochettino said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Spurs’ visit to Brighton on Saturday. “I know in the same time when you win you get a lot of praise that sometimes you don’t deserve. When you lose you need to keep the balance and accept the criticism and accept that people are going to think differently and of course try to find the reason why we lose. That is how I understand football and how I accept the situation is going to happen. That is why the balance is the most important. When you win you need to keep the balance and when you lose you need to accept the criticism and, of course, keep the balance too.”

With the recent struggles, Tottenham has fallen to sixth in the Premier League table behind both Bournemouth and Watford.

Certainly not aiding the cause is the recent travel schedule, with Spurs in the middle of a stretch where they play five of seven matches away from home across all competitions. After traveling to Brighton, they host Watford in League Cup action before visiting Huddersfield Town in Premier League play.