Mauricio Pochettino says he won’t be studying Tottenham’s Europa League display on Thursday too closely ahead of this weekend’s game at White Hart Lane.
Spurs bowed out of the competition with a 5-3 defeat on aggregate in Portugal, despite earning a credible 2-2 draw in the second leg with a makeshift team, but Pochettino believes Saints will face a much changed side again on Sunday as the hosts look to resurrect their league form.
Tottenham have won just once in their last four Barclays Premier League matches, and have the worst home record of all the teams in the top six, though that may not play into the visitors’ hands.
“You never know [if it’s a good time to play them],” Pochettino told Saints Player. “You need to analyse the performance of every single team after the game. We know that it’s going to be a different game so it will be a completely different contest with a different team.
“I think Spurs are going to be a completely different side to the one that played against Benfica last night in the Europa League. The Tottenham squad is quite plentiful, they have a few players and we expect a really tough game on Sunday.”
Back in December, Saints were beaten 3-2 by Tottenham at St Mary’s, with Emmanuel Adebayor grabbing two of the goals for the Londoners on that day. However, Pochettino is wary of the threat posed by their opponents as a whole.
“They have Adebayor, but they also have Soldado and I can name many players that they have in their team who are quality players that can decide a game on their own,” he explained.
“They have a lot of good players that can do that. It’s clear that when we played against them at St Mary’s, Adebayor made things very difficult for us and this week we’ve been working on having all of their players under control, not just him.”
Saints arrive at this game with back-to-back victories in the league under their belts for the first time since the start of October, and Pochettino believes his squad are looking good as the season starts drawing to a close.
“The team feels very good,” the gaffer highlighted. “There’s a very positive feeling in the team right now.
“We have 45 points which is four more points than we had at the end of last season, but with eight games to go. The team is feeling good, but we do have some fitness questions that we need to resolve, but overall the feeling amongst the squad is good.”
Pochettino also provided an update on injuries, adding that Gaston Ramirez is hoping to push on from an encouraging performance against Norwich last weekend.
“He did very well, but he also had to come off with a slight knock so we need to assess his fitness ahead of the game on Sunday, but it’s also very important that he finishes this season very well, both him and the rest of the team.
“With Victor Wanyama it is very difficult that he will play on Sunday,” the manager added. “There’s also Jack Cork, and now we’ve just learnt Morgan [Schneiderlin] might have a slight problem, Guly too, and Kelvin Davis so we have those five players that are doubtful for the game.”