Friday, October 20, 2017

Pochettino wants Tottenham ´motivated and excited´ to avoid Millwall upset

SoccerNews in FA Cup 10 Mar 2017

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Mauricio Pochettino is expecting a tough test against Millwall in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at The Den, comparing the game to Tottenham’s dramatic fourth-round victory over Wycombe Wanderers.

League One high-flyers Millwall are sixth in the third tier and unbeaten in 17 games in all competitions, with manager Neil Harris and his side having already knocked out Premier League clubs Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester at home during their run to the last eight.

Pochettino is not feeling complacent ahead of the London derby, despite his side being strong favourites to progress to the semi-finals of the knockout competition.

“We are ready to fight,” said Pochettino. “Our example was Wycombe at home. It was tough and a very good experience for us. 

“It will be a tough game and we will try to give our best. We are very aware from the first moment we must fight, play, run, concentrate, and try to win. In front will be a tough opposition. We need to be motivated and excited to play.”

Harry Kane scooped the Premier League’s Player of the Month award for February after scoring four goals in three games, including a hat-trick in a 4-0 home win against Stoke City, leading Pochettino to hail the striker’s contribution.

“You can see he is playing very well,” said Pochettino. “[I am] happy for him and the team, he fully deserves the trophy. 

“I think he is doing very well. He is showing that he still can improve, but that he is one of best strikers in Europe and England. He is very young. His mentality is to try to improve every day and work hard and try to be better. He needs to be focused, work hard, be patient and enjoy football.”

Spurs announced on Thursday that left-back Ben Davies has signed a new contract through to 2021 and Pochettino feels the Wales international has earned the extension.

“Always it’s difficult to share a position with Danny Rose, one of the best full-backs in England and Europe,” Pochettino said. “His position wasn’t easy from the beginning and he’s always kept fighting, always waiting for his opportunity to play.

“When we’re talking about the squad, this type of player deserves all the credit, to keep fighting and pushing the level of the squad.”

Pochettino confirmed Rose is on track to return to action in April, but there is no set timescale for the long-awaited comeback of Erik Lamela, who is continuing his rehabilitation after a hip injury.

“I don’t want to lie to you and give you some information you use,” Pochettino said when asked about Lamela’s fitness. “I cannot say one week, or two weeks, or three weeks, or one month. We are assessing him every day. Every morning we prepare something to do. Sometimes he warms up with the team, some days he feels pain and we change the plan. 100 per cent he is doing everything here.”

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