Pochettino warns Spurs to fear Burnley threat
Mauricio Pochettino has warned title-chasing Tottenham not to underestimate Burnley in Saturday’s crucial trip to Turf Moor.
Pochettino’s side have won their last four matches and still have an outside chance of winning the Premier League as they try to close the 10-point gap on leaders Chelsea.
Although Tottenham are riding high in second place, 27 points ahead of mid-table Burnley, Pochettino is expecting a physical battle against opponents who have lost just three home league matches all season.
“Burnley will be tough. They are doing very well at home,” Pochettino said.
“We know very well we need to fight from the first moment. They are very physically, very aggressive. We have to give our best and be ready to fight.”
Harry Kane has made a quicker than expected return to training from an ankle injury but the Tottenham striker will not be ready for this weekend, with Pochettino keen not to put a timescale on his return.
The prognosis on Kane’s team-mate Danny Rose is less certain.
“Danny Rose will be seeing a specialist this afternoon and then we will see,” said Pochettino. “He’s a bit behind Harry Kane but we are positive too.
“Harry is doing well. He returned a few days ago to work on the pitch. We are very positive but we will see when he is available.
“Of course he will be available before the end of the season.”
Tottenham will also assess Vincent Janssen (chest infection), while Erik Lamela has been ruled out for the season with a hip problem.
– Impossible –
Fans of the north Londoners will have been relieved to hear Pochettino play down a link with the Barcelona job after he was photographed with the Spanish club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu last week.
The Tottenham manager indicated that it would be impossible for him to manage Barca, having played for and managed their city rivals Espanyol.
“I don’t like to speak about rumours but the meeting was true – a coincidence in a bar in Barcelona, last Tuesday,” he said.
“I’ve known him for a long time before he became chairman of Barcelona. Many people around saw us to say hello. We spent five minutes together. That was the reality.
“I am an Espanyol supporter. It’s like if Daniel Levy sacked me in a few years it would be impossible to manage Arsenal.”
Burnley have not played a home league match since February 11 and will welcome the opportunity to return to Turf Moor, where they have gathered 29 of their 32 points this season.
The quirks of the fixture list forced them to play four successive away league matches before the international break.
There will be plenty of focus on Burnley centre-back Michael Keane, who won his first two England caps during the international break, against Germany and Lithuania.
Keane is out of contract at the end of next season and is unlikely to sign a new deal, meaning Burnley may well look to sell the 24-year-old to ensure they get a fee for him.
“There are so many stories about our players. It’s good in one sense that people think highly of your players; not just him, but a number of players,” Burnley manager Sean Dyche said.
“There’s always that challenge of all the stories and everything that goes with it. He’s earned the right to be considered as a fine centre-half, because he is one.”
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