Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen has returned to the squad for tomorrow’s Premier League trip to lowly West Ham United after recovering from a stomach injury, manager Mauricio Pochettino said yesterday.
The Denmark playmaker has not featured for the club since a 2-1 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion on Sept. 22, leading his national team manager Age Hareide to claim the 26-year-old might have a chronic abdominal condition.
“Christian is ready again to compete and to play. We will decide on Saturday if he will play from the beginning or from the bench and I have nothing to say about the comments from the Denmark coach,” Pochettino told a news conference. Tottenham’s Belgium international Mousa Dembele has also started training after shaking off a thigh problem while England midfielder Dele Alli, who has been suffering with a hamstring problem, is expected to be back next week.
Pochettino welcomed the return of his key players ahead of an important run of fixtures including games against Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League and Premier League champions Manchester City later this month. “It will be a tough month of competition for us. There are a lot of games ahead and it’s so important to have nearly all the squad fit to compete and play and to give options to rotate and share the games,” Pochettino added.
Tottenham have lost to Inter Milan and Barcelona in the Champions League but are on a three-match winning run in the Premier League to sit fifth with 18 points from eight matches. Pochettino hailed the club’s performances despite a number of England internationals in his squad enduring a gruelling World Cup campaign in Russia earlier this year where they helped the national team to reach the semi-finals.
“I’ve to remind everyone this is our best start after eight games. The perception changed when we lost to Inter Milan and Barcelona in the Champions League but we have one more point (in the Premier League) than last season,” Pochettino said.
“I am not happy with that because we are fifth in the table and the ambition is to be on the top but, at the same time, we are realistic and with all the circumstances we suffered in the summer with the World Cup and everything. But we keep fighting and we are very close to the top of the table.”
Pochettino has no regrets over failing to add to his squad in the close season. Spurs became the first side not to make a summer signing since the transfer window was established. Chairman Daniel Levy hinted this week in a meeting with the Tottenham fans that he was content with the club’s summer activity and Pochettino agreed with him.
“It was difficult to buy the player we needed,” Pochettino said. “That was impossible. I was happy and am happy with the squad that I have, 25 players. We have no regrets, we are happy. When we started the season with three games that we won and we were up at the top of the table people were talking in a different way, ‘Oh how clever are Tottenham because they keep all the squad from last season’. After we lost some games all the alarms started to make a big impact in the perception. But I need to remind everyone that this is our best start after eight games, it is the best start in the Premier League for Tottenham.”
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