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Mauricio Pochettino says staff, not youth, the reason for Tottenham’s fitness


Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is backing his ultra-fit players to make a full recovery in time for Sunday’s North London derby against Arsenal.

Spurs have endured a demanding week ahead of the crunch match at the Emirates Stadium, after beating Aston Villa 3-1 on Monday and edging past Anderlecht 2-1 on Thursday in the Europa League.

Tottenham have found it difficult to juggle the two competitions in recent years, but seven points from three league matches after European games this season suggest they are growing more comfortable with the extra workload.

SEE MORE: 5 must-see games on TV this weekend.

Pochettino resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes against Anderlecht, with only Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Mousa Dembele dropping out of the starting lineup, and he is confident his side will have enough left in the tank for Arsenal this weekend:

“It’s not because we have a young squad that we run a lot and we now win the games …

“It’s about the way we’re training. This is our sports science and our medical staff who deserve to have their job recognized.

“When you have to push the players every day, it is hard for the players and you can be proud of how they recovered for (the game against Anderlecht).

“It is not a miracle. It is hard work from the beginning of the season.”

The contest at White Hart Lane looked to be heading for a 1-1 draw when Harry Kane’s first half strike was cancelled out by Imoh Ezekiel but Dembele came off the bench to score a stunning winner in the 87th minute.

SEE MORE: Tottenham entering a defining period, on and off the field.

Dembele expressed disappointment earlier this year at his lack of game time at White Hart Lane but the midfielder appears to have won over Pochettino, having started all of Tottenham’s last four matches and scored three times in the process:

“If we analyze him last season, part of the season he was injured …

“I think Dembele from the beginning of this season, every time he was available he had the possibility to play.

“Always it’s up to the player. If the player shows he deserves to play, it’s easy for them.

“I am very pleased with him. He got injured against Everton and had some problems with his foot but today he was very important for us.”

Kane’s goal came just a few hours after another call-up to Roy Hodsgon’s England squad and continues a recent return to form for the striker, who now has five in his last three appearances.

“We never had any doubts about him …

“Always the top players sometimes have times when they struggle to score.

“We are very pleased with him, very happy he has started to score again and I think we deserved to take the three points.

“I am pleased because we are top of the group and now we need to focus only on Sunday.”

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