Pochettino waits on Alli’s fitness for clash against Man City


Dele Alli faces a late fitness test ahead of Tottenham’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester City, although Harry Winks will miss out.

Alli suffered a broken hand during last week’s first leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which Spurs won 1-0 thanks to Son Heung-min’s 78th-minute strike.

The England international sat out the 4-0 weekend win over Huddersfield but has not been ruled out entirely, while Erik Lamela will also be checked after returning to training following a hamstring injury.

“We need to assess him,” Mauricio Pochettino told a pre-match news conference about Alli.

“We are going to have the last training session today and then we decide whether he can be in the starting XI or start on the bench.”

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The trip to the Etihad Stadium comes too soon for Winks, however, after his impressive showing against City first time around. A groin injury means the 23-year-old is sidelined alongside Serge Aurier (hamstring), Eric Dier (hip) and captain Harry Kane (ankle).

Irrespective of the personnel available, Pochettino is under no illusions over the scale of the task awaiting his players against a City team still in contention for an unprecedented quadruple.

“Manchester City for me are one of the best teams in the world,” he said. “They are a clear favourite to win the Premier League and the Champions League.

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“To beat them in the first leg was an amazing result but the tie is still open and it is going to be very, very tough.

“We have the belief and we are going to fight and hope for a good performance, and them not so good.

“In an important moment you need some luck and must be ready to profit form that circumstance

“Tomorrow will be an amazing challenge and I am so motivated for it.”

City’s lavish spending under their current owners has been well documented, while Spurs have not added to their first-team squad in the past two transfer windows.

Nevertheless, Pochettino feels dwelling on such disparities is an irrelevance for his players in Manchester.

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“We don’t need to talk about that reality. We need to talk about 11 v 11 on the pitch,” the former Southampton boss said.

“I am a coach who never puts excuses after or before. You describe a reality that is there but tomorrow we are going to be on the pitch trying to win the games.”

He added: “We are going to be more than proud about being in the Champions League, to arrive in the quarter-finals to challenge a team like Manchester City.

“But that does not mean we are not going to fight and believe that we can beat them.”

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