Reus to miss Wembley clash

Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus will miss the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Tottenham because of a thigh injury.

The 29-year-old Germany international has scored 17 goals in all competitions for the Bundesliga leaders this season.

However, he picked up the injury during last week's German Cup defeat to Werder Bremen and missed Saturday's 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim.

"We would, of course, have liked to have him in London, because his presence is a bit intimidating for the opponent," said Dortmund official Sebastian Kehl. "But we'll compensate for his absence."

It is unclear whether Reus will be fit enough to play in the return leg in Dortmund on 5th March.

Meanwhile, Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris accepts that it will be difficult to get the better of Dortmund and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Mauricio Pochettino's team were fortunate to beat Leicester City 3-1 at Wembley on Sunday when not playing well while France international Lloris had to save Jamie Vardy's penalty and keep out an effort by Harvey Barnes with an outstretched leg.

"Dortmund play fantastic football with fantastic players and I'm not surprised they're top of the league in Germany," said Lloris.

"It's going to be very, very difficult. Some days it's difficult to deal with Wembley but, hopefully, in this big game, we'll receive help from the crowd.

"Leicester played fantastic and we won the game thanks to our spirit and character. Without that, we could not win. [But] we need to improve the team performance. Against a bigger side we couldn't have won that type of game. It's up to us."

Spurs can be backed at 21/20 to qualify for the last eight of the Champions League and at 8/1 to beat Dortmund 2-1 on Wednesday. Pochettino's team are 9/4 to keep a clean sheet in the first leg against the German side and 8/1 to win the Wembley clash from behind.

Son shines on Spurs

Son Heung-min scored his second vital late goal in four days as Spurs edged out Newcastle 1-0 at Wembley.

Buoyed by their midweek win over champions Manchester City, the Magpies were organised and stubborn throughout and kept their hosts mostly at bay.

Rafael Benitez's side looked to be on course for a credible point before Son's weak shot from 20-yards found its way past Martin Dubravka.

Having returned from the Asian Cup at the start of the week, Son levelled in the midweek come-from-behind 2-1 win over Watford at Wembley, before his netted a last-minute winner.

Fernando Llorente was the match-winner then but the Spaniard found himself benched against Newcastle. With his side struggling, Mauricio Pochettino summoned Llorente for the final half-hour and he played his part in the key moment.

Llorente cushioned a long ball down into the path of Son, who worked some space before trying his luck from the edge of the area. It appeared a straightforward save for Dubravka, who impressed for Newcastle on the day, but somehow the ball went underneath him.

The three points lifted Tottenham into second spot, a point clear of Manchester City and four behind leaders Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola's side are 3/10 to beat Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. A point would move them back above Tottenham and the draw is 11/2. The Gunners trail their north London rivals by ten points and are 17/2 to claim three points on Sunday.

Son admits he is tired following his exertions at the Asian Cup, but he knows it was a vital week in Tottenham's season.

"Of course I'm tired but I think the two games were important. We've had a great week. It was a difficult game but we're very happy to get six points this week," he told Sky Sports.

He played down any suggestion there is more pressure on him with Harry Kane and Deli Alli injured.

"Not just me, I think everyone feels the same [pressure]. We tried to get the goal in the first half but football is not easy and we had to wait for the right moment.

"My teammates and the coaching staff give me a lot of confidence."

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Hodgson aware of Palace priorities

Roy Hodgson would love to take Crystal Palace to an FA Cup semi-final or final, but he readily admits that his priority is staying in the Premier League.

The Eagles welcome Tottenham to Selhurst Park on Sunday for a fourth-round clash and, despite their visitors going through an injury crisis, Hodgson suggests the home team must be focused on league form and not cup runs.

He may not have the sort of squad depth that opposite number Mauricio Pochettino can call upon, but Hodgson is still eyeing up some rotation for this game.

"When you are in our situation, prioritisation is always a factor in your mind," he said. "Our squad is thin on the ground.

The former England boss feels the competition has lost some its appeal down through the years.

"It's nothing like the glittering prize it was in my youth because we have the Champions League and Europa League now. Not many have the ambition to win the FA Cup.

"The FA Cup is still being won by the top teams, and our position in the table [14th] isn't as good as we'd like it to be.

"What is my ambition? To advance in the FA Cup and get to the semis or the final, or stay in the Premier League? My ambition is to stay in the Premier League."

Crystal Palace are 2/1 to beat Spurs, who are 6/4, on Sunday with the draw priced at 12/5.

Despite Tottenham's injures mounting up, they'll have plenty of quality to call on, says Hodgson.

"They have got a lot of players to lose," he added. "They have got a fantastic squad.

"When you bring in people like [Serge] Aurier or [Ben] Davies in, or [Moussa] Sissoko comes in, it is, basically speaking, a riches that the club and Mauricio Pochettino have built up through the years."

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Hazard rates Chelsea’s chances

Star Chelsea forward Eden Hazard believes his side will have an even chance of defeating opponents Manchester City in the final of the Carabao Cup.

The Blues booked their place in the Wembley showpiece by beating Spurs 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in the second leg of their semi-final, with an aggregate score of 2-2 leading to a penalty shootout in which Chelsea prevailed 4-2.

And Hazard, who won the League Cup with the Blues four years ago, is looking forward to the chance of taking on the Citizens next month, with the men from Manchester the current holders of the trophy.

He told Sky Sports: "It's always hard (against City). With Liverpool, I think they are the best team in the Premier League at the moment.

"They win a lot of trophies in the last five or six years, but we also have a great team, so I think it is a 50-50 game."

Chelsea are priced at 6/4 to lift the Carabao Cup, with Man City available at 1/2.

Meanwhile, Blues head coach Maurizio Sarri was pleased to see his players answer some of the questions he had posed about their lacklustre performances in recent games.

He added: "We will now play a final, a very difficult final, but I was very happy with the performance.

"I think in the last three or four matches we had a problem; firstly motivation and then the players stopped to having fun on the pitch.

"Now with this performance and result we can once again find enthusiasm, which is very important."

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Dembele makes Spurs exit

Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed the sale of midfielder Mousa Dembele to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R & F for £11m.

The former Fulham man had been at Spurs since 2012, making 250 appearances after joining for £15m, though he had only played 13 times this season for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

Dembele, 31, was due to be out of contract in the summer but will seal a move after international clearance has been confirmed.

The Belgian international had originally seemed set to join Beijing Guoan, but complications with the deal allowed Guangzhou to sweep in and steal the initiative.

Dembele will see his earnings increased significantly, while a desire to playing in a less physical league is also said to have been behind his decision to move on.

"I go with an unbelievable feeling and a certain love for the club," said Dembele. "It has been very special."

"Sometimes you separate in a bad way but I don't feel it in a bad way. Everyone has been positive with me and has wished me luck and happiness. "The club always treated me fairly.

"It has been an unbelievable experience for me and I will always remember it."

Despite their failure to add a single player during the summer transfer window, Spurs remain keen to trim their squad.

Defeat to Manchester United last weekend at Wembley leaves the Londoners seemingly handcuffed in the title race one more.

They now trail leaders Liverpool by nine points and have lost skipper Harry Kane until March with an ankle problem.

Spurs are 7/10 to win away at Fulham on Sunday, with the Cottagers 4/1 and the draw priced at 13/5.

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Eriksen needs ‘freedom’ to play

Mauricio Pochettino retains his faith in Christian Eriksen and insists he allows the Tottenham playmaker 'freedom' to play as he chooses.

Eriksen has yet to agree a new deal with Spurs, though his manager is still of the opinion that he may commit his long-term future to north London.

Eriksen has 18 months left on his Spurs contract and chairman Daniel Levy is typically keen to secure his signature on an extension. As yet Eriksen has not put pen to paper.

"We hope that Christian can commit to the club with a long-term contract – but in football business it is about timings and negotiations," said Pochettino.

"He is ready to wait. Maybe sign this week, maybe sign in six months.

"For me, it is not a point to discuss. He is very committed with us and he is playing so well. He is a great player and I am so happy with him."

Spurs are 11/10 to beat Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday. The in-form Red Devils are 13/5 to maintain their perfect record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while the draw is 27/10.

Spurs are looking to win three consecutive top-flight meetings with Manchester United for the first time since 1960.

Eriksen, 9/1 to score first against United, will play without restraint, something Pochettino feels is vital to a player of his ilk.

"He is a special person and you need to give him some freedom on the pitch," he added.

"You cannot put him in a box to play, you need to give freedom and trust in him."

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Poch rules out new arrivals

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is not planning to make any new signings this month despite his team's hectic schedule.

Spurs are challenging for the Premier League title, have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League as well as the fourth round of the FA Cup and are involved in the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals this month.

Lucas Moura will miss Tuesday's first-leg clash against Chelsea due to the knee injury he picked up in Friday's 7-0 FA Cup win at Tranmere and may also be forced to sit out Sunday's Premier League clash against Manchester United.

Eric Dier (appendicitis) and Victor Wanyama (knee) are also currently sidelined, while Son Heung-min is set to join the South Korea squad for the Asian Cup.

However, Pochettino is happy with the depth of his squad, saying: "I don't expect to add players. Of course, if we have the possibility to add the right player, we are going to try.

"The team is so strong in all the areas. I am happy and I know that it's very difficult for the club to add the quality to improve us, it's not an easy job."

Erik Lamela could feature against Chelsea on Tuesday after recovering from an illness.

Meanwhile, Pochettino has indicated that he would like to spend the rest of his managerial career at Spurs.

The Argentine has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid but insists he is happy at Spurs and would like to emulate Arsene Wenger's longevity at north London rivals Arsenal.

"I hope, or I wish, to be here 20 years and decide to leave or to finish my career here," he added.

"I am so focused here. It would be fantastic. I am so happy to be here. I am so happy to work in that pressure. Why not?"

Spurs, 16/1 to win the Premier League title this season and 7/2 to win the Carabao Cup, are 17/2 to beat Chelsea 1-0 on Tuesday and 6/5 to qualify for the final.

Alderweireld extends Spurs stay

Tottenham have confirmed that Belgium international Toby Alderweireld has extended his contract with the club until June 2020.

The 29-year-old's contract was set to expire at the end of the current season but Spurs have triggered the one-year extension in his deal.

"The club can confirm that we have activated the option to extend Toby Alderweireld's contract until 2020," Tottenham said in a statement.

Alderweireld, who has made 135 appearances for Spurs in all competitions, had been linked with a move to Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino admits that the FA Cup is not at the top of his priorities.

Spurs visit Tranmere Rovers on Friday in a third-round tie before facing Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

"If my ambition in Tottenham is only to win the Carabao Cup or FA Cup, with all the respect for that, I think my ambition does not match the ambition of a club like Tottenham," said Pochettino.

"My ambition is to win the Champions League one day with Tottenham or the Premier League.

"But that doesn't mean that we are not focused on trying to win against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup or in the FA Cup. But you need a lot of coincidences to win sometimes."

Spurs, 8/1 to win the FA Cup this season, are 11/2 to beat Tranmere 2-0 on Friday.

Pochettino uncertain on Eriksen deal

Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he cannot be certain that playmaker Christian Eriksen will ink a contract extension to stay at Tottenham.

The Denmark international has just 18 months remaining on his contract and has been touted for a move away from north London.

Spurs have offered Eriksen new terms but, with the likes of Barcelona said to be interested, no new deal has been agreed.

Eriksen has scored six times and assisted nine more goals this season but his manager cannot be sure what the future holds.

"No news is good news. Who knows? I am not a person who suffers too much in this type of situation, because football is dynamic," said the Spurs boss.

"Football is about interests that sometimes as a manager we cannot manage. It depends on many things. Different parties have interests.

"Of course Christian Eriksen is so important for us and you would like to have this kind of player with you. But it's a negotiation with different parties, with different interests."

Spurs are 25/1 to win the Champions League this season while they can be backed at 7/2 to hoist the Carabao Cup.

Spurs have not won a trophy in 11 years but, according to their manager, silverware isn't the only proof of progress.

"For many people it's so important for us to win. For me, of course it's important, like for the players and the club, to win a trophy," he added.

"But I'm not sure whether winning the Carabao Cup or FA Cup is going to change the character of the club."

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Pochettino hails magnificent Spurs

Mauricio Pochettino admits Tottenham lack the consistency to be genuine Premier League title challengers at the moment.

Spurs moved up to second in the table after easing to a 3-0 victory at Cardiff City on Tuesday and also thrashed Everton and Bournemouth during the festive period.

However, they suffered a damaging 3-1 loss to Wolves at Wembley on Saturday which has left them at 20/1 to win the Premier League title this season.

"Us and Everton, we were both teams that suffer a little bit more without much rest between the games, and I think the players' effort was magnificent," said Pochettino.

"I congratulate them because in 10 days to play four games is so tough and the performance was fantastic.

"The Premier League is so tough, if you want to be in a good position you must be consistent for the whole season and you can't afford to lose the three points like we did against Wolves."

Spurs could slip back to third on Thursday when Manchester City host unbeaten leaders Liverpool.

"It will be an unbelievable game, and of course I am going to enjoy football too," Pochettino added.

"Both teams I think are the best in England. But the day after we are going to play (in the) FA Cup, and we need to be ready again, because we have a very busy schedule."

Spurs play Tranmere Rovers in the third round of the FA Cup at Prenton Park on Friday and are 2/11 to beat the League Two outfit and 11/2 to win the tie 2-0.