Upbeat Pochettino urges Spurs to 'do our job'

Tottenham star Son Heung-min and his teammates must beat PSV Eindhoven and hope Inter Milan do not beat Barcelona to keep alive their hopes of making the last 16.
Tottenham star Son Heung-min and his teammates must beat PSV Eindhoven and hope Inter Milan do not beat Barcelona to keep alive their hopes of making the last 16.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Desperate to avoid Champions League elimination in the group stage for the second time in three years, Tottenham face a do-or-die clash against Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven today.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino remained optimistic even as his team are battling an injury crisis ahead of the match at Wembley.

Speaking at a pre-match conference yesterday, the Argentinian said: "It's so important to win tomorrow and be alive to try to get to the next stage.

"I don't have too many players to select from. We've only 18 or 19. The reality that it's a small possibility to get to the next stage doesn't affect us... We have to do our job."

Mousa Dembele (ankle), Eric Dier (thigh), Danny Rose (groin), Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) and Victor Wanyama (knee) are out, while goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is suspended. Tottenham are third in Group B after taking just one point from their first three matches.

Their exit from Europe's elite club competition would be confirmed with a draw or loss to PSV and second-placed Inter Milan beat group leaders Barcelona.

That would be another wretched conclusion to a Champions League campaign that began with high hopes for Tottenham, who beat defending champions Real Madrid in the group stage last season and also advanced to the last 16.

Defeats by Inter and Barcelona this term were the worst possible start for Tottenham, with a late PSV equaliser in a draw in Eindhoven leaving the Premier League side in even deeper trouble.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have left Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri out of the squad for their Group C tie at Red Star Belgrade, saying they were uncertain over the reception he would receive in the Serbian capital.

Shaqiri, an ethnic Albanian of Kosovar heritage, scored the winner for Switzerland in a 2-1 win over Serbia at the World Cup in June, celebrating with a gesture that seemed to imitate the eagle in Albania's flag.

Serbia refuses to recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo - whose 1.8 million people are mostly ethnic Albanians - which broke away 10 years ago.

"We want to go there and be focused 100 per cent on football and not have to think about anything else," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said.

Liverpool are top of Group C on six points. Red Star have one point after three matches in a pool that also includes Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2018, with the headline 'Upbeat Pochettino urges Spurs to 'do our job''. Print Edition | Subscribe