Tottenham Hotspur are coming off of a huge win at home over Chelsea in the Premier League, but there’s no time to rest on their laurels. Spurs’ week from hell continues tomorrow with a Champions League clash at Wembley Stadium against Inter Milan, and if Spurs want any hope of escaping the group stages behind Barcelona, they have to win.
But they’ll need to win without five of their players. As announced in Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference this morning, five Tottenham players are out of action vs. Inter. Four are injured — Victor Wanyama, Mousa Dembele, Davinson Sanchez, and Kieran Trippier were ruled out on medical grounds — and a fifth player, Juan Foyth, will miss the match because he was not registered for the Champions League group stages.
That’s especially disappointing for Foyth, who has earned Pochettino’s trust in difficult circumstances after the injuries to Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez in recent weeks. Poch said that he feels awful about leaving Foyth behind, but also fellow non-registrants Georges-Kevin N’Koudou and Vincent Janssen.
“I am so disappointed because not only Juan, but GK and Vincent Janssen are out of the squad. It’s so painful but it’s decision that we made. For different reasons we need to fix it before the start of the season. If you find my speech before the season I was so disappointed because the squad was big. Some players have to be out of the list. We needed English players. Now we are finished and I hope that we can include him in March.”
The good news is that Jan Vertonghen looks set to return to the starting lineup. Vertonghen returned to Spurs training last week and while he was left on the bench for Spurs’ big win over Chelsea, with Foyth out I can’t see any way he doesn’t slot in beside Toby Alderweireld against the Nerazzurri.
The other bit of good news concerns Danny Rose, whom Pochettino said has returned to full training, but is working on his fitness. That means he COULD play on Wednesday, but it’s unlikely.
#thfc Dembele (ankle), Sanchez (hamstring), Trippier (groin) & Wanyama (knee) unavailable for Inter, while Foyth is ineligible.— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) November 27, 2018
Rose has returned to full training but club says he's 'building up match fitness', suggesting he won't play a part.
The path to the Champions League knock-outs is rocky for Tottenham, but not impossible. Inter are three points ahead of Spurs in the table and have a 0/-2 goal differential advantage. Spurs will need to beat the Serie A squad at Wembley and then, depending on the final score, will likely need at least a point against an already-qualified Barcelona at the Nou Camp.