Steve McClaren has urged Newcastle Untied not to expect a Europa League hangover when they visit Tottenham on Sunday.
Newcastle head to White Hart Lane with the opportunity to potentially move out of the Premier League relegation zone having beaten Liverpool 2-0 last weekend.
The Tyneside club benefited from Tottenham’s Europa League fatigue last season, claiming a 2-1 win in north London just three days after Spurs had thumped Asteras Tripolis 5-1.
However, with a place in the last 32 already secured, Tottenham were able to rest a number of key players in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Monaco, which sealed top spot in Group J.
And McClaren, who led Middlesbrough to the UEFA Cup Final in 2006, said: “I’ve been in the Europa League and it’s always tough. When you’ve qualified though you can rest players.
“You can put more emphasis on preparation, not for the Thursday, for the Sunday. I am sure Tottenham will be doing that.
“Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen [who were rested on Thursday] are all top players. They have built a really good squad.
“They have signed a lot of players last season, it took them time to develop and adapt. They have done that and they are what I would call title contenders and a top-four team.
“Spurs are an all-round good team, strong at the back and very strong up front.”
Newcastle will again be without midfielder Cheick Tiote because of a knock as well as winger Rolando Aarons (foot) and defender Jamaal Lascelles (hamstring).
Centre-backs Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor (both hamstring) are unavailable, as are long-term absentees Gabriel Obertan (hamstring) and Massadio Haidara (knee).
Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele missed the win over Monaco through illness and Eric Dier sustained a foot injury in that victory. Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard are missing due to ankle complaints.
A number of fringe players featured against the Ligue 1 side, and Toby Alderweireld believes Tottenham’s depth will be important if Mauricio Pochettino’s men – who are six points off the top in fifth and are unbeaten in their last 14 league games – are to maintain a title challenge over the busy Christmas period.
“It [the Monaco win] is important for the confidence so we can take this result into Sunday,” Alderweireld said. “Sunday is a big game. At home we want to win every game. We are doing well but at home we have to take the three points against Newcastle.
“In the Premier League every game is tough and every game is a battle. So we have to prepare for the battle. I think we have the quality to beat them.
“We are confident but we are not over confident. We know our strength is working hard so we have to keep working hard to improve ourselves.
“We need our squad. We are going to play a lot of games over the Christmas period.”
Key Opta Stats:
– Newcastle have won just one of the last 14 Premier League away games (W1 D2 L11), scoring a total of just five goals in that run and conceding 35.
– None of the last 18 Premier League games between these two sides at White Hart Lane has ended as a draw (11 Spurs wins, seven for the Magpies including the last two).
– The Magpies have dropped the joint-most points from winning positions this season (10 – along with Aston Villa).
– Spurs have not remained unbeaten in 15 consecutive league games since a 19-game run between December 1977 and March 1978.