Pochettino keeps Spurs grounded for Palace visit

Mauricio Pochettino has vowed his
Tottenham Hotspur players will remain
grounded when they face Crystal Palace, the
Premier League’s bottom side, at Wembley
on Sunday.
Tottenham are still basking in the adulation
that has come their way since they beat
Champions League holders Real Madrid 3-1
beneath the Wembley arch on Wednesday.
The mood would be dampened if Palace,
who are yet to score in five away league
defeats, are not beaten this weekend and
Pochettino has warned his players not to
take their eyes off the ball.
“We must be focused. We must use the
result to lift us and build confidence,” said
the Tottenham manager.
“But we understand we must work hard to
get another good result on Sunday. It’s
always difficult to play Wednesday to
Sunday. The effort was massive.
“We must be ready for a very tough game.
Crystal Palace have a very good team. They
struggled from the beginning of the
“They changed manager, but we know Roy
Hodgson very well. We had a good
relationship with him from the national
team. They are always organised. It will
demand a lot of energy.
“It’s true the challenge now is to be
focused. It’s a massive opportunity to forget
the Real Madrid game.”
Spurs’ 1-0 defeat at Manchester United last
weekend left them eight points below
leaders Manchester City in third place and
Pochettino is already concerned about
being cut adrift.
“Crystal Palace is another final for us,” he
said. “After out defeat against Man United,
it’s so important to win again in the
Premier League.
“We know very well in football, we must
keep feet on the grass. All the games are so
important and tough. You cannot be
relaxed when you compete in this game.”
The victory over Madrid, which carried
Spurs into the last 16, came at the cost of
injuries to Hugo Lloris (groin) and Toby
Alderweireld (hamstring) that have ruled
both out of Sunday’s match.
Back-up goalkeeper Michel Vorm will make
his first league start of the season in place
of Lloris, with Eric Dier a candidate to fill in
for Alderweireld.
– Zaha ‘excites us all’ –
Palace are in desperate need of a result, but
manager Hodgson does not expect
Tottenham to be complacent and take his
struggling side for granted.
“They are young, professional and well-
managed,” he said.
“I’ll be surprised if we don’t see Spurs play
well. I expect to see the team I have
admired since the start of the season. They
beat Real 3-1, but it could have been six.
“Knowing Pochettino, he’ll be telling his
team all the right things — keep running
and doing what they have been doing —
and making sure there is no complacency.
“The big question is whether the players
will be able to take it on board.”
Hodgson’s principal task will be keeping
Harry Kane and Dele Alli, his old England
players, quiet.
“We know how dangerous and good they
are,” said Hodgson, who led the national
team between 2012 and 2016.
“Our job has got to be to prevent them
getting into dangerous situations.”
His own trump card could be Wilfried Zaha,
scorer of last week’s 97th-minute point-
saver in Palace’s 2-2 draw against West
Ham United.
“Since Wilfried has been back from injury
he has added a different dimension,”
Hodgson said.
“We threaten teams much more now in the
final third. He excites us all because he has
the ability to set up and score goals.”
Mamadou Sakho and James McArthur could
feature for Palace after returning to training
following their respective calf and ankle
Patrick van Aanholt is a doubt with a
hamstring problem, while Chung Yong Lee
(hamstring) and Christian Benteke (knee)
are both out.
but still they really are a threat now that is crystal palace
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