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Leagues: Champions League

Sissoko injury fear for Spurs ahead of Moscow trip

Middlesbrough (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Moussa Sissoko has added to the injury worries facing Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League tie at CSKA Moscow.

Sissoko suffered concussion during Tottenham’s 2-1 success at Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Saturday and appears unlikely to make the trip to Russia.

A win in Moscow is vital for Tottenham after their defeat by Monaco in the opening round of fixtures.

Pochettino is already without striker Harry Kane and there are major doubts over Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier and Danny Rose, who were missing at the Riverside as Tottenham maintained their unbeaten run and moved into second place in the Premier League.

While Kane’s absence is the biggest blow to Spurs, Son Heung-Min showed at Middlesbrough that they can turn to him for goals. 

He claimed both their goals and has now scored four times in his last three games.

Son started only 13 games under Pochettino last season and was unsettled during the close-season, but is now a vital part of the team. 

“It’s difficult for all players who come from outside England because the Premier League is the toughest in the world,” Pochettino said. 

“He’s a different person today — he’s more mature and knows the league now. He’s a nice guy that likes to work hard and, in football, you get paid back if you work hard.

“Harry Kane is a very important player for us, but always we talk about the team and we have a strong squad. 

“Harry has an injury, he is important, but so are all 25 players in the squad. We are not happy that Harry is out, but that is football.

“I was very pleased with the first half, but I was a little bit disappointed as we created a lot of chances and we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. That is something we need to work on in the future.

“In the second half, we had a few more chances, but we could not be too open or naive, because the game is not done at 2-0. 

“When it was 2-1, we suffered a little bit, but we deserved the victory.”

– Frustrating –

Son’s goals came inside the opening 23 minutes as he made Middlesbrough pay for their defensive shortcomings in front of an uncertain goalkeeper in Victor Valdes.

With Calum Chambers surprisingly called up in place of Daniel Ayala, Middlesbrough’s back four allowed Son to glide away from two challenges in the seventh minute and steered in a left-foot shot that Valdes should have stopped.

Antonio Barragan and Cristhian Stuani were the Middlesbrough players at fault 16 minutes later when Son again located space inside the area and used his right foot on this occasion to place his shot inside Valdes’s far post.

Middlesbrough improved after the interval and briefly hinted at a revival when defender Ben Gibson headed Stewart Downing’s free-kick past Hugo Lloris in the 65th minute.

“It’s frustrating for me to work for seven days to try and show them how Tottenham play and how good they are, then we are losing after seven minutes,” Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka said. 

“The worst thing for me is the attitude in the first-half. It was awful, but the second-half was completely different.

“When I first came here we were conceding a lot of goals and we are doing it now again. We have to beat that problem and the way to do it is by having the attitude we had last season when we played as a team.

“We have one week now to decide what sort of team we want to be. If it’s the first-half team, we have problems, but if it’s the team that played in the second-half, we will win a few games.”

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