Pochettino targets ultimate juggling act in bid to stoke Premier League and Europa League silverware bids

Ross McLean
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West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Pochettino's Spurs face Borussia Dortmund on Thursday (Source: Getty)

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has vowed to conjure the ultimate juggling trick to maintain the White Hart Lane club’s pursuit of Premier League and European silverware this season.

The north London club face German side Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday ahead of a domestic showdown at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Second-placed Spurs are in the thick of the race for Premier League honours this term, sitting five points adrift of leaders Leicester, with nine games of the season remaining to secure a first top-flight title since 1961.

Pochettino has consistently insisted that he will not sacrifice the Europa League to embolden their Premier League charge, although he accepts that a pragmatic approach is needed in order to keep the home fires burning.

“Always we try to take the better decision and pick the better players for different games,” said Pochettino.

“I think we have a very tough game against Borussia Dortmund and I think the Europa League and Premier League are competitions that are our priority now because we have two competitions.

“But in the same way we are in a period that is tough for the players and sometimes you need to refresh the team and sometimes you need to rotate.

“It’s difficult to play every game with the same team and the important thing is to have a big squad and that all the players feel they are important and the starting XI is the best team we can pick to try to win the game.”

Sours will be without suspended midfielder Dele Alli, who was cautioned during Tottenham’s last European tussle against Fiorentina.

Full-back Danny Rose has been left behind in London after suffering cramp in his calf against Arsenal on Saturday, while Pochettino has opted to rest midfielder Eric Dier. Centre-half Jan Vertonghen and Cameroon forward Clinton Njie remain sidelined with knee injuries.

Dortmund, meanwhile, find themselves in a similar position to Tottenham in the Bundesliga, trailing Manchester-bound Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich by five points. Thomas Tuchel’s side host Mainz on Sunday.

“There are some similarities between ourselves and Borussia Dortmund. It’s exciting for us to play against them,” added Pochettino.

“We know all about Dortmund’s goals, they have good players and a great coach. I like the way they play and I think it is a good challenge for us. They are one of the best teams in Europe.”