Mauricio Pochettino is pleased to have another match so soon after Monday’s defeat and has told his Tottenham players the short turnaround will be no excuse for a cup exit at West Ham — but he admits he will rotate heavily.
Wednesday’s fourth-round Carabao Cup tie at the London Stadium comes just 48 hours after Spurs were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City at Wembley, but Pochettino is looking on the bright side.
“I’m happy to change that feeling [from] Monday,” he said. “It’s good to play on Wednesday. We’re going to use players that normally are not involved in the last few games. We’re going to have the opportunity to see them and give them the opportunity to play.
“It will be very competitive, it’s a derby. There are no excuses, no complaints, and on Wednesday [we will be] ready again to compete and try to win.”
Asked whether it is a risk to field a weakened team against a fellow Premier League side, given Spurs have been trophyless since 2008, Pochettino said: “I can put in the same players with a risk that they become injured.
“It’s so difficult. We’re going to assess all the players. It’s less than 48 hours to compete again having had the circumstance of playing on a pitch that is so difficult to play on [against Man City]. It was tough and a very competitive game.
“I think we are in a period in the season that is different to when Christmas arrives, and when it’s a normal season where you can prepare yourself to compete during 10 months. A lot of players didn’t have a preseason.
“My feeling is it’s going to be difficult to repeat some players — maybe [Eric] Dier, who played 65 minutes [against City]. Maybe, but I don’t believe too many players will be ready and fresh to play.”
Christian Eriksen, who played the full match against PSV Eindhoven on his return from an abdominal injury last week, was benched against Man City on Monday, only appearing in the closing stages.
But Pochettino said: “He’s fully fit. Another thing is to play well or not, but he’s fully fit. Could he start? Yes, maybe.
“I asked him to play 90 minutes against PSV Eindhoven and it was difficult again to overload him [against City], but we hope he will be ready to play on Wednesday — and Dele [Alli] too is possible. We will see.”
Alli has suffered two hamstring injuries this season, first experiencing the problem while on international duty in September and then aggravating it in his first start after his return, ruling him out of the following five matches.
The 22-year-old made his latest comeback as a substitute on Monday, and Pochettino said: “It was so complicated and we were so disappointed when he got injured playing at Milton Keynes in the Carabao Cup, and we don’t want to suffer again a setback from him.
“If he feels well, maybe he will be available to play from the beginning on Wednesday. We will see if he can play an hour or 70 minutes. But we need to assess him every day to try to be consistent in the training and play more and more in the games.”