Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino challenged his Tottenham squad to fight for silverware on two fronts after seeing his team thrust themselves back into the Premier League title race with a 2-0 victory at Leicester City ahead of a Champions League trip to Barcelona in midweek.
The Tottenham manager saw his side brush the Foxes aside despite Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, two of his most potent attacking players, playing only cameo roles off the bench.
The pair will now be fresh for Tuesday’s crucial Champions League trip to Catalonia with Spurs needing to win at the Camp Nou to guarantee progress to the last 16.
And Pochettino believes all of his players will have a role in the hectic weeks ahead.
“To show the belief you have in the squad is massive,” said Pochettino.
“There’s no point players playing every three days. It’s not healthy, they need to rest and need some time to breathe.
“For some teams it’s so difficult to manage. The most important thing is being genuine in the trust you have in the squad.
“We are showing we trust all the players. In this busy period everybody needs to be focused.”
Victory in the East Midlands moved Tottenham back into third, just six points off the top of the Premier League, now headed by Liverpool following Manchester City’s first defeat of the season at Chelsea.
By staying in the race despite a host of injury problems and delays over moving into the club’s new stadium, Pochettino now believes his players can keep pace with the league leaders.
“The three points are massive to keep our position in the table,” he added.
“It’s a massive win for us. The reality is we are there, fighting Liverpool, City, Chelsea and Arsenal – that’s the reality.
“It was a tough place so I’m very happy with the performance. I am so pleased and it allows us to start thinking about Barcelona.”
– Son on the rise –
In the absence of Kane and Eriksen, Son Heung-min came to the fore by opening the scoring with a left-footed rocket from the edge of the penalty area before crossing for Dele Alli to head home Spurs’ second just before the hour mark.
Son’s impact in the first few months of the season was limited by his participation in the Asian Games, but the South Korean has been in fine form in recent weeks after skipping international duty last month.