Mauricio Pochettino will not be taking Tottenham’s Boxing Day trip to bottom club Leicester lightly – despite upcoming clashes with Manchester United and Chelsea.
Spurs travel to the King Power Stadium looking for a third straight Barclays Premier League win up against a Leicester side who are five points adrift of safety at the foot of the table.
With home games against third-placed Manchester United and league leaders Chelsea to come, Spurs could be forgiven for casting an eye towards seemingly trickier tasks – but Pochettino insists that is not the case.
“I think the most important game is the next,” he said.
“In this type of period you need to believe that the most important game is the next. If you plan for five, after the first game you can be wrong if you think another game ahead, not the first.
“It is important to keep the good feeling in the whole squad. This period is a very busy period that we have. And we need every player fit ready to play.
“The reality is that (Leicester) play well, maybe that has not reflected in their performances with results but they are a very good team, with good players. We expect a tough game and we are focused and ready.”
Pochettino will come up against a Leicester team likely to contain fellow Argentinian Esteban Cambiasso – with the Tottenham head coach happy to see his compatriot, capped 135 times by his country, gracing the Premier League.
“Esteban is a great player,” he said.
“He is a big player. It is a pleasure to meet him on Friday. I wish him all the best in his new club and new football here in England.
“I don’t remember if we played together in the national team. But I don’t know all Argentine players, but maybe Cambiasso is closer to my generation. I know him well.
“I’m not surprised (he moved to Leicester) as I heard he wanted to come to England to discover this football. It is a great opportunity to discover England, the Premier League, and a good team like Leicester.”
Ryan Mason is likely to travel with the squad despite the midfielder suffering a twisted ankle in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Burnley.
Emmanuel Adebayor could also play some part but Pochettino insists he does not need to rush the Togo striker back into his side, with the 30-year-old not playing since early November due to injury and a spell of compassionate leave.
“It’s an easy answer. It’s because it’s my decision,” Pochettino replied when asked why Adebayor had not featured in the last two games.
“I will decide to pick him when he is ready. I don’t want to speak more about Adebayor. We need to do it the natural way. When I decide he’s ready to play, be sure I will pick him.
“Football is present, not only for him but for all players. It’s not about history. I have a good relationship with him but when I am sure he’s ready to play, sure he’s better than another team-mate and he deserves to play; he plays.”
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