Spurs won't be over-confident

After they shock Real in midweek, Pochettino reminds team not to relax against bottom side

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino has vowed his Tottenham Hotspur players will remain grounded when they face Crystal Palace, the English Premier League's bottom side, at Wembley today.

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 Spurs 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 season.

"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."

Spurs' 1-0 defeat by Manchester United last weekend left them eight points below leaders Manchester City (28 points) in third place and Pochettino is already concerned about being cut adrift.

"Crystal Palace is another final for us," he added.

"After our defeat (by) Man United, it's so important to win again in the Premier League.

"We know very well in football, we must keep our 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 Real, 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 today'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.

Palace are in desperate need of a good result, but manager Hodgson does not expect Tottenham to be complacent and take his struggling side for granted. 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... and making sure there is no complacency."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TOTTENHAM V CRYSTAL PALACE
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 05, 2017, with the headline 'Spurs won't be over-confident'. Print Edition | Subscribe