Football

Alderweireld warns rivals: Tottenham can still improve

Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld has fired a warning to their rivals ahead of their showdown with Manchester United on Monday morning (Singapore time).

The Belgian defender told The Independent that there is still more to come from the Lilywhites, who are third in the table, just six points behind leaders Liverpool.

Spurs have won six of their last seven matches in all competitions - the only blip coming in a 3-1 defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers - but Alderweireld said they are hungry for more.

He said: "We have a hungry group who want to play well and beat big teams. We want to do something special.

"That desire is what you can see on the pitch. You see it every season we are out there. There is still some room to improve, though."

Their match against a resurgent Manchester United will be be a stern test for both sides.

United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces his biggest task since taking over from Jose Mourinho when his team face the man some believe could eventually replace him - Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs have won some big matches this season- against Man United (3-0), Inter Milan (1-0) and Chelsea (3-1 and 1-0), but fell short against Manchester City (0-1), Liverpool (1-2), and Arsenal (2-4) in the EPL.

Despite defeating United at Old Trafford just five months ago, Alderweireld expects a much sterner test this time around, now that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has replaced Jose Mourinho as manager, reported the London Evening Standard.

"Of course, we know they will be in a better moment than they were before," he said.

"We know they have very good players and a very good team. Quality, with some special players. So we have to be tough to beat them. But we can be confident and prepare ourselves the best we can to be ready for them."

Pochettino could have some players available for selection again.

Lucas Moura, who scored twice in that 3-0 win at Old Trafford, will be assessed ahead of the game after hurting his knee in last week's 7-0 FA Cup win over Tranmere, while Jan Vertonghen will return to the squad after a thigh problem.

Eric Dier is also closing in on a return, after undergoing appendix surgery on Dec 8.

One player who won't be available after their match against United is Son Heung Min, who be will flying to the United Arab Emirates for Asian Cup duty with the South Korea squad.

The forward could miss up to five club matches should South Korea make it all the way to the Asian Cup final on Feb 1.

Barring an early exit by South Korea, he will be unavailable for Spurs' EPL matches against Fulham, Watford and Newcastle, the second leg of their League Cup semi-final against Chelsea and their FA Cup fourth-round tie with Crystal Palace.

Football