Mauricio Pochettino believes the next month could define Tottenham’s season and says they cannot allow injuries to disrupt their rhythm.
Spurs host Middlesbrough this evening, as they look to reduce a nine-point gap on Chelsea, before taking a tough trip to Liverpool next weekend. Pochettino’s men then face two Europa League games against Gent, either side of an FA Cup fifth round tie at Fulham, before finishing the month at home to Stoke in the Premier League.
It means a poor run of form could spell the end of Tottenham’s challenge in all three competitions and their cause has not been helped by a recent spate of injuries.
Jan Vertonghen, Erik Lamela, and Danny Rose are all set to miss at least some of those fixtures, in a situation reminiscent of when Spurs struggled to cope without the likes of Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld, and Mousa Dembele in the autumn. Tottenham then bowed out of the Champions League, lost in the EFL Cup third round and registered only one win in 10 matches.
“February is very important, it is a month that will mark our objective until the end of the season, every game will be massive,” Pochettino said.
“It is a shame because all the injuries are for reasons we cannot manage because they are a knock here and there and a bad tackle or two.
“But it is true we have a very busy period. We have Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League and we need all the players in good condition.
Aitor Karanka has warned Middlesbrough not to expect any favours.
He said, with a smile: “I don’t know why, but everybody is really good against us.
“I was watching the Manchester United v Hull game and against us, they (United) looked like they were flying and on Wednesday, they were walking on the pitch - or that was my impression.
“But I am confident with our players, with our performances and I am just thinking about us because it’s the only way.”
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