Tottenham have been handed a double injury blow after Harry Kane was ruled out of Thursday’s Europa League clash against Fiorentina while Mousa Dembele is likely to miss the North London derby against Arsenal next month.
Kane broke his nose during the FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend and will sit out the second leg against Fiorentina, but the striker is expected to return against Swansea on Sunday.
It will be the first time this season Kane has not been named either in the starting line-up or on the bench for a Spurs fixture.
Dembele’s injury, however, is more serious. The midfielder came off at half-time against Palace with a groin injury and is now set to be out for between 10 days and two weeks.
It means the Belgian, a key player in Tottenham’s title charge, will miss Fiorentina and is also facing a race against time to be fit to play Arsenal, who visit White Hart Lane in the league a week on Saturday.
“Harry Kane will be available for Sunday,” Pochettino said.
“We expect and hope he will be available. Today he wasn’t here because he is seeing a specialist about his nose.”
On Dembele, Pochettino added: “On Mousa we expect maybe longer than Harry. Maybe 10 days, two weeks.
“It is not a big issue. A small injury but in this period we have a lot of games ahead so it arrives in a bad moment.”
Tottenham have the slight upper hand against Fiorentina, having taken an away goal from their 1-1 draw in Italy last week.
Pochettino is boosted by the return of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who has been struggling with a shoulder injury, and Erik Lamela, who has recovered from a bout of illness.
Tom Carroll, however, is out with an Achilles problem while Jan Vertonghen and Clinton Njie remain sidelined with knee injuries.
The match against Fiorentina, who sit third in Serie A, kicks off a tough run of fixtures for Spurs, who face West Ham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United over the next six weeks.
The defeat to Palace ended Tottenham’s eight-match unbeaten run, which included seven consecutive victories, and Pochettino admits his side face a crucial juncture in maintaining their momentum.
“We are in a key period. The period ahead is very important for us, it is a period where we play a lot of important games,” Pochettino said.
“The loss to Palace has not affected the group. We played better than Crystal Palace and we need to keep our motivation because we have important games coming up.”
Fiorentina may afford Dele Alli some extra attention at White Hart Lane after the midfielder appeared to drag his foot over Nenad Tomovic during last week’s first leg.
Pochettino said he had spoken to Alli this week about his conduct and the Argentine has been pleased with the 19-year-old’s response.
“We had a chat and it was very good,” Pochettino said.
“He is a very nice guy and a very good person but is very competitive on the pitch.
“He showed very good maturity against Crystal Palace, he was calm and played well. That showed his character and he improved his behaviour on the pitch.
“It was a natural chat and he showed for the future he learned a lot after that.”
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