Football

Kane, Toby out of Spurs' must-win clash

Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld and striker Harry Kane remain unavailable for the Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen, manager Mauricio Pochettino said yesterday.

Kane had been rated "50-50" to be fit for tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) game at Wembley, while Belgian Alderweireld has missed the last four games with a knee injury.

"Tomorrow, Harry will not be available, no. He will not be on the bench," Pochettino said.

"It's good to see him do the warm-up with the team, and be involved. He made half a training session. Then it was a specific training session for him, and for Toby it was the same," the Argentinian added.

Tottenham play Arsenal in the North London Derby in the Premier League on Sunday.

"We expect maybe Thursday Harry can do full training. Toby, maybe, but he has some other problem," Pochettino said.

Vincent Janssen scored his first Premier League goal from the penalty spot against Leicester, but the Dutchman is yet to register from open play for his new club.

Forward Erik Lamela, who has featured in 14 of Spurs' 15 games this season, is also struggling.

"Erik Lamela had a problem with his hip during training today and we are not sure if he will be involved tomorrow," Pochettino said.

Spurs had Hugo Lloris to thank after the goalkeeper pulled off a string of fine saves to rescue a point when they visited Leverkusen last month.

Pochettino said it was a must-win game for Spurs if they want to progress past the group stage.

"We understand that tomorrow's game is key. It's very important to take the three points against tough opposition," he added.

"They have very good players. It'll be tough but we are conscious that we need to take the three points if we want to go to the next round."

Spurs are second in Group E on four points, one behind leaders Monaco. CSKA Moscow, bottom of the standings, are the other team in the group.

FRUSTRATION

However, Pochettino insists the frustration of Tottenham's recent barren run won't become a distraction as his injury-plagued side look to get back on track in the Champions League.

A 1-1 draw against Leicester last Saturday left Pochettino counting the cost of five games without a victory.

But he knows injuries have been at the root of Tottenham's problems and he hopes the results will pick up once the wounded return to action.

Also out is Moussa Sissoko, who is suspended.

Asked if he had endured a spell in management as frustrating as this, Pochettino said: "I don't remember having one.

"It is hard because the players come with many problems like injuries and suspensions.

"Yes, it is true it is a tough period when you play, play, play that you need all the squad available, but you need to adapt to the competition and we are happy.

"It is true we are disappointed with the last few results but, in the same way, we need to take positives in and keep working."

Spurs remain unbeaten in the Premier League and are second in Champions League Group D, but they have a tough month ahead.

The crunch games against Leverkusen and Arsenal come before two more grudge matches against London rivals West Ham and Chelsea, either side of a trip to Monaco in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Leverkusen will be without captain Lars Bender, who is out with a bruised heel from last Saturday's 2-1 comeback win at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.

Also out injured is Australian winger Robbie Kruse, but Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt has Germany international Jonathan Tah and Turkey's Omer Toprak fit after injuries to strengthen his defence. - Wire Services.

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