Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that defender Jan Vertonghen’s injury is not as bad as first feared, but admits that Erik Lamela’s continued absence is an increasing concern.
Pochettino insists he does not plan to sign a replacement for Vertonghen this month as the Belgium centre-back’s knee problem is only likely to sideline him for six weeks – a month less than the initial prognosis after he broke down in last week’s 4-0 win over West Brom.
“Jan is okay. He is very positive, we are pushing him a lot,” he said. “We expect him to be out for six weeks. I don’t want to set a limit, but I think that’s very positive. When your mind is good, you can even recover early.”
Pochettino is less optimistic on a return date for attacking midfielder Lamela, who has not played since October due to a mystery hip injury.
He is due to have a scan on Friday to determine whether he needs surgery.
“It’s still difficult to give a time for him to come back. We need to wait for what happens. There are still some problems, and we’re not sure of the diagnosis,” said the Spurs boss.
“Now we are starting to be concerned about him, because it’s nearly three months and we are still in a situation with no movement.”
Man City ready to call on Jesus
Second-placed Tottenham, who sit seven points behind runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea, take their six-match winning streak to stuttering Manchester City on Saturday evening.
Fifth-placed City, who have lost two of their last three games, have £27m signing Gabriel Jesus available for the first time after the 19-year-old Brazil striker completed the formalities of his move from Palmeiras.