The bad news keeps coming. One day before Tottenham Hotspur's critical second leg against Fiorentina in the Europa League, multiple journalists and the club are reporting that both Harry Kane and Mousa Dembele will miss the match due to injury. Dembele was substituted off at halftime of Spurs' 1-0 FA Cup loss to Crystal Palace on Sunday with a groin injury, and Kane had his nose broken after catching an elbow in the same fixture.
#thfc Pochettino says Harry Kane and Mousa Dembele are unavailable tomorrow but Hugo Lloris is back.— Ben Pearce (@BenPearceSpurs) February 24, 2016
Having Hugo (and Erik Lamela, who has recovered from the flu) back will certainly mitigate some of the defensive issues that arise without Mousa in midfield, but this certainly isn't good news. And it gets worse: Sky Sports Tottenham beat writer Lyall Thomas is claiming that Mousa has a 7-10 day recovery time, which means that not only will he miss the mid-week match against West Ham, but he also might not be fit in time for the upcoming North London Derby on March 5.
The midfield implications are scary. Tom Carroll's knock suggests that Spurs might go, again, with the Ryan Mason - Nabil Bentaleb pivot partnership in the Europa League again. The other option would be to have Eric Dier return to the pivot alongside a partner like Ryan Mason.
As for Kane, he's been fitted with a protective mask, but Pochettino is clearly being protective of him and allowing him to get additional time for his nose to heal. It's likely that he'll be back in contention to start for this weekend's league match against Swansea. Spurs have leaned heavily on Son Heung-Min in their past two matches, and it could be that Sonny will be called up on again to deputize for Kane on Thursday. Or we might see Nacer Chadli up top. It's unclear what Pochettino will do.
Spurs only need a (scoreless) draw to progress to the next round of the Europa League, which seems very doable, even with a rotated side and without their best striker and first choice midfield. But this is still super scary and I don't like it. Someone please hold me.