Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits he may rest players against Borussia Dortmund tonight but said Danny Rose is in contention to start.
Spurs have already qualified for the Champions League last 16 and need only one victory from their two remaining games to progress as winners of Group H. It means Pochettino is likely to take the chance to rotate his line-up, which could include a start for Rose, who was left out of the squad completely for Saturday’s north London derby.
Pochettino insisted after the defeat to Arsenal that Rose was left out for fitness reasons — amid fresh speculation he is unsettled — but the left-back has travelled to Germany and trained with the squad last night.
“He is doing well,” Pochettino said. “The training session on Saturday was tough for him and today he will train with the group and then we will decide if tomorrow he will play or not.
“I cannot speak about the rumours. If you ask if Danny Rose is here and do we have an issue, I say no. Any issue? No, no issue with him.”
Harry Kane and Dele Alli were both taken off in the second half at Emirates Stadium, only a week after pulling out of the England squad with knee and hamstring injuries respectively. Son Heung-min and Fernando Llorente are potential replacements for the pair and Pochettino may give at least one of the England pair a break, with a home game against West Brom to come on Saturday.
“They were fit [to play against Arsenal], both Dele Alli and Harry Kane,” Pochettino said.
“I have spoken with everyone and we have conversations with the 25 players. Then when I get the perception I’m going to decide.
“We only rest players who need to rest for different reasons — always what’s best for them and the team. I hope not too many rest because it’s a Champions League game and we want to win and it’s better to win tomorrow than to wait for the last game against Apoel.
“The objective was to qualify and we achieved that but it’s important to finish first if we can.”
Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld are out with knee and hamstring injuries respectively while Erik Lamela is still recovering from a problem with his hips.
Dortmund have mustered only two points from their opening four Champions League games and must beat Tottenham to keep their hopes of progress alive. Dortmund coach Peter Bosz has confirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return tonight.
Aubameyang was dropped for Dortmund’s defeat to Stuttgart on Friday after arriving late for a team training session before the match.
Dortmund were beaten 2-1 without their star striker and Bosz has said Aubameyang will be back to take on Spurs.
“Yes he will play tomorrow, that’s an easy answer,” Bosz said yesterday.
“Before I didn’t put him in the team against Stuttgart, I told him already this would be a match he wouldn’t play, but after, on Saturday, he trained with us, with the team, and that’s why I can tell you now he’ll play tomorrow.”
Aubameyang’s return represents a timely boost for Dortmund given he has scored 15 goals in 17 appearances for the Germans this season.
Dortmund are also woefully out of form.
They have slipped to fifth in the Bundesliga following three straight losses while in the Champions League they have mustered only two draws so far.
Their poor run has heaped pressure on Bosz’s position as manager but he believes a win over Spurs could spark a revival.
“Everybody thinks we can’t win tomorrow because it’s such a bad phase,” Bosz said.
“But maybe we can have a good match tomorrow and turn it around a bit.”
Arsenal have secured Borussia Dortmund’s Sven Mislintat as their new head of recruitment.
The Gunners have drafted in the highly-rated 45-year-old, who will start in December.
Chief scout Steve Rowley has stood down from his post after 25 years with the north London club.
Mislintat had been at Dortmund for almost a decade, during which time the Bundesliga club recruited star names such as Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Shinji Kagawa and Ousmane Dembele.
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