‘Soldado will cope with bench role’

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Image: SpursWeb

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino insists once again relegating Roberto Soldado to the bench will not break the misfiring striker’s confidence.

The £26million forward has scored just once in the Premier League this season and has lost his place in the first team to in-form Harry Kane.

Soldado returned to the side for Tottenham’s FA Cup third-round replay against Burnley on Wednesday but missed a golden opportunity to notch just his fifth goal in all competitions since the start of the campaign.

The Spain international is likely to find himself among the substitutes for the league visit of Sunderland on Saturday and Pochettino has no qualms about dropping the 29-year-old.

“It’s always hard for the player when he misses this chance,” he said.

“It’s okay because he feels that his team-mates, the club and us (the coaching staff) support him. Maybe he will have another opportunity to score? We have no worries about him because he showed after 90 minutes that he played very good for the team.

“He knows that there are opportunities for everyone (to play). We have a lot of games ahead and it’s not a question if you miss a chance whether you play or not play. If I decide tomorrow he will go to the bench it will not affect his confidence.”

Pochettino scoffed at suggestions bringing in a psychologist could help Soldado’s current mindset and believes the framework is already in place at the club to support the player.

“It’s not about psychology,” the Argentinian added.

“We see the player and the people and the holistic situation. It’s about all. It’s not a case to fix to bring in a psychologist from outside.

“The better psychology for him is from us; we are the people with him all of the time. In football, sometimes there is a good chance to score, but it’s not a psychology problem.”

Jermain Defoe is likely to feature against his former club after completing a deal to join Sunderland on Friday.

The 32-year-old enjoyed two spells at White Hart Lane and remains a favourite among supporters but was not considered for a return to north London, with Pochettino pleased with his striking options.

“I am happy with Harry Kane because he scores,” said the Spurs manager.

“I am happy with Soldado, he didn’t score but I am happy too. I am happy with (Emmanuel) Adebayor and all players. After I need to pick the best players for each game.”

Adebayor has not featured for Spurs since a 2-1 defeat to Stoke on November 9 and has also spent time in Africa having been granted compassionate leave in December.

But Pochettino rubbished claims the striker has fallen out of favour and insists he can play a part, starting against the Black Cats.

“I explained before, the relationship is good and that is why I pick him tomorrow,” Pochettino said.

“He has been training (since coming back from Africa). We train very hard and sometimes we play with the Under-21 players and have games and try to re-produce the same situation as a game.

“When we have players who come back from injury that have not played we analyse the game so we can re-produce the same intensity and the same distance.”

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