Pochettino: Extra rest is vital

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Published: Wednesday 26th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham’s Europa League hangovers would become a thing of the past if the Premier League afforded them an extra day’s rest.

Spurs have often found it difficult to balance European and domestic exertions, with this season’s awful home record bringing those issues into sharp focus.

No side has suffered more Premier League defeats on their own turf this season, with Liverpool, West Brom, Newcastle and Stoke all taking three points from White Hart Lane.

All four of those defeats have followed Europa League matches – a horrendous run they will be hoping is not extended when Everton visit this weekend days after Spurs host Partizan Belgrade.

Roberto Martinez’s side also have a European match to deal with on Thursday and Pochettino believes both sides would benefit from such matches taking place on Monday rather than Sunday.

“Maybe it is a good idea,” he said, when asked whether matches should be rescheduled to a Monday.

“For Sunday, we are in the same position as Everton. They play in Germany [at Wolfsburg] and we play at home.

“Yes, maybe it is a good idea to play Monday. Why not? One day more is good for the players to recover. Yes, maybe it is a good idea.”

Put to Pochettino that football bodies in Italy and Spain appear to be more helpful to sides in European competition, the former Espanyol boss said: “Yes, yes, it is true.

“They look after the clubs who are involved in the international competition.

“I think it is a good idea maybe if you play Thursday and afterwards Monday.

“One day extra is very good for the players to recover because maybe you play in Turkey, Serbia or Greece and you arrive 4am.

“It changes your sleep and after it is Friday, you need to train, then Saturday, then Sunday you play at one o’clock. It is very difficult for the players.”

Returning to league action against Everton may be tough, but few expect Pochettino’s men to struggle against Partizan on Thursday.

The Serbians arrive in north London with elimination already confirmed, whereas Spurs have the chance to sew up progression to the last 32 with a game to spare.

“Tomorrow it is important to get three points against Partizan, which will see us go to the next round,” Pochettino said of the Group C match. “We want to travel to Besiktas with the job done.

“I think it is important to play tomorrow at White Hart Lane. It is true that in the Premier League we have problems in our games at home bu t it is important for the team to go to White Hart Lane and do a good job, play well and win the game.”

This is, though, a match Pochettino approaches without a host of key players, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul and Etienne Capoue amongst those unavailable.

Federico Fazio’s suspension compounds those absences, although there is a welcome return for midfielder Nabil Bentaleb after a month sidelined with an ankle injury.

Many had also expected Kyle Walker to return on Thursday, having stepped up his recovery from the abdominal injury which has kept him out for eight months.

Speculation was fuelled when he was pictured training with the first-team squad on the eve of the Partizan game, but Pochettino says the right-back is not yet ready.

“Kyle Walker will not be involved,” he said. “Not at the moment, maybe in the next few weeks. Maybe then he has the possibility to be involved.”

The host of absentees means youngsters Dominic Ball and Harry Winks have been included in the squad, while Vlad Chiriches, Paulinho and Aaron Lennon are in line to start after impressing off the bench in Sunday’s 2-1 comeback win at Hull.

Meanwhile, Partizan’s Europa League fate is already sealed but manager Marko Nikolic is demanding a strong performance from his players.

“It will be a great pleasure playing in Europe in a country where it all started,” he said in a press conference, Partizan’s website reported.

“The ambience at White Hart Lane will surely motivate my team and this will be another opportunity for us to prove ourselves against one of the best Premier League clubs.

“On the other hand, Tottenham will be motivated to show the Belgrade draw was not a real show of power. They are picking up form gradually.

“Spurs are practically in the next Europa League group stage and I expect them to play in a similar fashion as they did in Belgrade.

“However, whoever they field, it will be a very strong team. This will be another opportunity for us to enjoy a football game and I hope there will be no lack of competitive tension.”

Published: Wednesday 26th November 2014 by The News Editor

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