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Tottenham v Leicester City: Defensive lapses a concern for Pochettino

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 11 Jan 2016

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Mauricio Pochettino is eager for Tottenham to tighten up defensively when they renew acquaintances with Leicester City in the Premier League on Wednesday.

The sides played out a 2-2 draw in Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at White Hart Lane – substitute Harry Kane’s 89th-minute penalty rescued Spurs and ensured a replay at the King Power Stadium next week.

Pochettino named a much-changed side for that fixture, though, and the Argentinian is likely to revert to type in the league.

And the former Southampton boss is targeting an improvement at the back after Spurs failed to keep a clean sheet in their past three matches. 

“There were a lot of players who haven’t played consistently in the Premier League and it was an important chance for them to show they can fight for a start in the team,” he told the club’s official website ahead of the match at White Hart Lane.

“We need to fix some things because we made mistakes and conceded goals – we’re in a period where every mistake [we make] is conceding a goal.

“The only way to sort that out is to work hard, keep going and be ready for the next games.”

Pochettino could have midfield duo Ryan Mason (ankle) and Mousa Dembele (groin) available with the pair pushing for returns this week, while Alex Pritchard (ankle) is set to return to training following a lengthy lay-off. 

Opposite number Claudio Ranieri also opted to make changes for the cup tie but the Italian remains without Jeffrey Schlupp (hamstring), while the Premier League’s joint-top scorer Jamie Vardy is rated as 50-50 following surgery on a minor groin problem.

Leicester have been this season’s undoubted surprise package, but they have slipped from first to second in the Premier League following a run of three top-flight games without victory, and Ranieri’s men have not scored in the league since the 3-2 win over Everton on December 19.

However, Andy King – one of those to come in for the draw with Spurs – believes Sunday’s draw highlights the strength in Leicester’s squad.

He the club’s official website: “We’re devastated not to get the win. We’ve got to pick ourselves up for the league on Wednesday.

“We can take big encouragement from our performance, so hopefully we can put in another on Wednesday.

“We always say it – the strength of the squad and the character of the group is probably our biggest strength. We’ve shown that again with eight changes but no real change in the performance – it was another good one and a step in the right direction.

“We’ve had an outstanding season so far. We just want to keep that going in every competition.”

 

Key Opta stats

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last five Premier League matches against Leicester City
– N’Golo Kante has made the most tackles (79) and interceptions (81) in the Premier League so far this season
– The last nine league meetings between these two clubs have produced 38 goals 
– After scoring in 18 successive Premier League games, Leicester City have now failed to score in their last three

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