London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho said Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min would all start against his former club Manchester United in their Premier League return on Friday.
The three-month coronavirus-enforced hiatus has arguably helped Spurs more than any other club, given the number of key players they have back from injury.
But they have an uphill battle in their bid to make the Champions League. They sit seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and four behind United in fifth, which could be enough to qualify if Manchester City’s two-season European ban stands.
Spurs will hand a fitness test to Giovani Lo Celso, while Jan Vertonghen will be involved even though his contract runs out on June 30.
Mourinho said Lo Celso was struggling with an injury before the season was suspended in March but lockdown rules meant it could not be treated properly.
“Because of the rules, his injury is not an injury in need of surgery but needed treatment and daily treatment, needed close contact with physios and fitness coaches working with him but that was not possible,” said the Spurs boss.
“For about two months he was injured and he couldn’t recover from it.”
Vertonghen is primed to leave Spurs but Mourinho hopes they can agree a deal for the Belgium defender to stay until the end of the campaign.
Mourinho admitted it would be tough to qualify for the Champions League but he said it was a “great motivation”.
“The battle for the top four would be amazing if we all started on the same number of points,” Mourinho said. “Unfortunately that is not the case.”
Spurs will be without Dele Alli after the England international was handed a one-match ban for a social media post mocking coronavirus.
Mourinho said the punishment was harsh and cited several high-profile misdemeanours from other players in the lockdown.
“I don’t want to say much more than I don’t think he deserves a one-match ban compared with wrong behaviours at much bigger dimensions that happened during this period without any consequences,” he said.
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