Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton – Preview
Mauricio Pochettino insists there will be no let-up in Tottenham Hotspur’s motivation as they prepare to host Southampton on Sunday.
Spurs’ Barclays Premier League title challenge came to an end on Monday when they were held to a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, a result which ensured leaders Leicester City cannot be caught this season.
And with second place still not yet assured, as rivals Arsenal are just three points behind with two matches remaining, Pochettino, the head coach, is determined for his side to bounce back with a victory against his old club, who have won five of their last seven in the league.
“We have the same motivation for the next two games,” he said on Friday. “We want to keep second place.
“To finish in the top four is fantastic because this was our goal. I remember last season we said our ambition was to reduce the gap to the top four. Now we are in the top four.
“We feel disappointed because it was a good opportunity to win the league but the way we fight, we can be proud of our players and we will fight next season for the same prize.”
Southampton dispatched Manchester City 4-2 last weekend and boast a run of just two defeats in their last eight matches away from home, a run which has helped to propel them back into UEFA Europa League contention.
Ronald Koeman’s side could surpass their best-ever points tally of 60, which was set last season, should they end a run of seven encounters against Spurs without a win this weekend.
The Saints’ manager does not expect Spurs to pose any less of a threat after their setback at Chelsea, however, and is relishing what he believes will be a close encounter between two exceptional teams.
“I expect them to be strong,” said Koeman. “They had a big disappointment last Monday. It was a tough match, maybe both teams were a little bit too worked up.
“It’s a fantastic game. Some teams play fantastic football: one of them is Tottenham, one is Southampton. That makes it nice, because it makes it all about football.”
Dembele is set to miss the meeting due to suspension, along with fellow midfielder Dele Alli, while Pochettino has concerns over full-back Danny Rose (hamstring) and centre-back Toby Alderweireld (knee). Koeman, however, expects to have a full squad to choose from.
Southampton (from): K Davis, Forster, Gazzaniga, Stekelenburg, Bertrand, Cedric, Fonte, Gardos, Martina, McCarthy, Targett, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Clasie, S Davis, Mane, Reed, Romeu, Tadic, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Austin, Juanmi, Long, Pelle, Rodriguez.
Tottenham Hotspur (from): Lloris, McGee, Vorm, Alderweireld, Davies, Dier, Rose, Trippier, Vertonghen, Walker, Wimmer, Carroll, Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela, Mason, Onomah, Son, Winks, Kane, N’Jie.
Kane leads race for Barclays Golden Boot >>
Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: A Holmes, H Lennard Fourth Official: M Oliver
– Tottenham Hotspur have won six of their last seven Barclays Premier League meetings with Southampton (W6 D1 L0).
– The Saints have lost just two of their previous eight BPL away games (W4 D2 L2).
– Spurs striker Harry Kane has scored 14 goals in his last 15 BPL appearances.
– Ronald Koeman’s side have collected 33 points in 2016, only behind the current top two in the standings (Leicester 38 and Spurs 35).