Gareth Bale and Dele Alli start again, Harry Kane returns as Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham battle West Ham in the Premier League February 20, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
Tottenham visit London rivals West Ham on Sunday – live on talkSPORT – as both clubs look to assert themselves in the race for a top-four Premier League finish.
Jose Mourinho’s men know this is key battle in their quest to return to the Champions League, especially with David Moyes’ side also in the hunt and ready to battle hard after a recent dip in form.
Even so, Mourinho seems insistent that, despite Tottenham’s unfavourable position, he believes his side can finish in the top four.
“In the same way you lose three matches and you go to a bad position, you win three matches and go to a much better position,” the Portuguese said. “So like happened last season, let’s go until the end and see what the table gives us. In the end, the table always gives you what you deserve.
“It’s very premature to think about the table. People still have matches in hand. In our case, we played already two matches against Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City. There are other teams that didn’t even play a second game against one of the top teams.
“We have one match in hand. I know already that because Southampton has to play the semi-finals of the FA Cup in the same week as we should play them, we’re not going to play that match.
“When are we going to play Aston Villa I don’t know. Maybe April 24, one day before the (Carabao Cup) final. Who knows? It’s very complicated.
“So we have to fight and we have to wait until the last match to see what happens. Anything can happen. We can finish top four, top six or outside the top six. We have to make sure the best possible thing is going to happen.”
A comfortable 4-1 win in the Europa League over Austrian side Wolfsberger will have boosted Spurs’ confidence but the absence of star man Harry Kane has some fans nervous.
Mourinho does appear to have allayed fears, though, insisting Kane was being rested and should return.
Asked if he would be back against West Ham, the manager replied: “I believe so. He’s an experienced guy that had injuries in the past. He knows his body better than anyone.
“He knows that I want him to play every minute of every game. So it’s never a question of a choice.
“I wanted to come here with the best team with the players who could give us more opportunities to win the game and to have a good result.
“But he made the decision based on his feelings and his feelings were to play this game could be a risk with the accumulation of minutes after the injury that he had.
“And, of course, myself and the medical department we agreed with him in giving him this opportunity to take care of his condition.
“But I believe on Sunday he is going to be okay and ready.”
Tottenham team news
Mourinho is hoping to be able to call on Kane but if the England captain is absent then Carlos Vinicius, fresh from his goal against Wolfsberger could come into the team.
It’s too early for the Portuguese to call on Sergio Reguilon, who will hopefully return next week, but Giovani Lo Celso is still ‘weeks away’, according to his manager.
Serge Aurier also looks set to be absent which means Japhet Tanganga could once again get the start ahead of Matt Doherty at right-back in the Premier League.
Elsewhere, Bale and Dele Alli could come in and start against West Ham ahead of Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura, while Davinson Sanchez, Tanguy Ndombele, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could all return too.
How Tottenham should look against West Ham
You can hear West Ham v Tottenham live on talkSPORT, Sunday at 12pm