Alli confident 'strong squad' can end trophy wait

LONDON • Dele Alli has pledged to end Tottenham's 11-year wait for a major trophy as his side head into an explosive League Cup semi-final showdown with Chelsea tonight.

Spurs have not won a major competition since beating the Blues in the 2008 final. They also lost to the same team in the 2015 final.

The four-time Cup winners are still in the Champions League and FA Cup, and also have an outside chance in the Premier League title race. But it is the League Cup that presents their first chance to end the silverware drought.

While the competition is often written off as an after-thought for top clubs, England star Alli is adamant it could be the first major prize for highly regarded manager Mauricio Pochettino, yet to win a trophy in his coaching career with Spurs, Southampton and Espanyol.

"I think every game, every competition, you want to win it," Alli said.

Spurs crushed fourth-tier Tranmere 7-0 in Friday's FA Cup third round using only three first-team regulars, including Alli, in a bid to keep the key men fresh for Chelsea.

Alli expects the plan to pay dividends, saying: "I believe we've got a strong squad.

"Players work hard to make sure we're fully fit and the manager makes changes. I think he's very good at that."

Chelsea, who host the second leg on Jan 22, will give late fitness tests to Olivier Giroud (ankle) and winger Pedro (hamstring).

Manager Maurizio Sarri is unsure whether midfielder Cesc Fabregas has played his last game but he feels the Spaniard must leave for the good of his career.

Fabregas, 31, appeared to say goodbye after Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest, applauding all sides of Stamford Bridge. His contract expires this season, with British media reporting he is close to securing a move to Monaco this month.

"I don't know if he is able to play tomorrow because in the last match he had cramp in the calf so he needs to rest I think," Sarri said yesterday.

"I don't know the decision of the club. In my opinion, he needs to go."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline 'Alli confident 'strong squad' can end trophy wait'. Print Edition | Subscribe