Pochettino eyes top spot ahead of trip to Bournemouth

LONDON • Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has urged his players to climb to the summit of the English Premier League for the first time this season by beating Bournemouth today, even though he has a trio of injuries to worry about.

Spurs, the league's only unbeaten side after eight games, dropped to third place last weekend after drawing 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion. They trail Arsenal and leaders Manchester City by a point.

Still, they can go top for at least a few hours if they beat Bournemouth in the early kick-off, with Arsenal hosting Middlesbrough later today and City facing Southampton tomorrow.

"It's a big motivation for us to take the three points to be top of the table," Pochettino said on Thursday.

"Today, the motivation was very good on the training ground. Our players are very conscious about that and it's a good opportunity to see us at the top of the table."

Bournemouth have been in fine form at home, capping a run of three straight wins at the Vitality Stadium with a 6-1 demolition of Hull City last weekend.

Pochettino's task is complicated by the continued absence of defender Toby Alderweireld and striker Harry Kane, while left-back Danny Rose is also a doubt after picking up a knock in the Champions League in midweek.

Kane was carried off with an ankle injury against Sunderland last month, but has started light training with the ball.

"We need to assess him every day," Pochettino said.

"It is true this weekend he is not available. As soon as possible when the confirmation is available I will explain."

Alderweireld hurt his knee in Tottenham's 1-1 draw with West Brom and the trip to Bournemouth will come too early for him, although the manager said the centre-back's injury was not major.

"The scan is clear. But he still feels pain in his leg. He is recovering well but we need to wait. He's like Harry, he is not available for the weekend too. We are happy because it is not a big issue," Pochettino said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2016, with the headline 'Pochettino eyes top spot ahead of trip to Bournemouth'. Print Edition | Subscribe