Spurs fit enough on three fronts

Harry Kane enjoyed his fifth career hat-trick in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Fulham and Spurs will be hoping he carries that form over to Europe.
Harry Kane enjoyed his fifth career hat-trick in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Fulham and Spurs will be hoping he carries that form over to Europe.PHOTO: REUTERS

Injuries a problem but Vertonghen upbeat on maintaining run in Europe, EPL and FA Cup

LONDON • Tottenham Hotspur can sustain their challenge in the Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup over the rest of the season, according to defender Jan Vertonghen.

The north Londoners bounced back from a tough week with a 3-0 FA Cup fifth-round win at Fulham on Sunday, following back-to-back defeats by Liverpool in the Premier League and at Gent in the last 32 first leg of the Europa League.

Spurs will need to overturn a 0-1 deficit against the Belgian side in the return leg at Wembley today before meeting Stoke in the Premier League on Sunday, when they will look to improve on a run of two draws and a defeat in their last four league games.

"We want to win both (the Europa League and FA Cup) and compete in the league as well, and I think our team is fit enough to cope with these things," Vertonghen, who was back in the side at Fulham after a month out, told the British media.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino opted not to rest too many of his established players at Fulham and is likely to name strong line-ups for the games against Gent and Stoke. But the Belgium international added that the squad was not concerned by the demanding schedule.

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    Number of goals Harry Kane has scored in Europe this season.

"I like to play as many games as possible and maybe the other guys do as well," he said.

However, a couple of key players are still out due to injury and Pochettino provided updates at his pre-match conference yesterday.

Forward Erik Lamela is ruled out with a hip injury that has troubled him for the past four months, while defender Danny Rose has been on the sidelines throughout February due to a knee injury.

"Erik is making progress and is now working on the field. No date is yet confirmed for a return to full training," the Spurs manager said.

"Danny continues to recover and rehabilitate, but remains a number of weeks away from full training."

Pochettino, however, was not too concerned and added that his players are all "professionals" when they fight to regain full fitness.

"When a player has an injury and works and focuses on trying to recover as soon as possible and shows they are professional, what happens is what has happened with Jan," the Argentinian said.

"He looks sharp, looks fit and deserves praise because he's a great professional.

"He was good and we're happy Jan is back with the group. It's important all the players are fit."

Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld hopes that the win at Fulham can inspire Tottenham today.

"We're looking forward to (the second leg), to change the game we played last Thursday, get a good result and get to the next round," he said. REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2017, with the headline 'Spurs fit enough on three fronts'. Print Edition | Subscribe