Juventus vs Tottenham - Pochettino: Toby Alderweireld not fit enough to face Juventus

Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2018 by PA

Juventus vs Tottenham - Pochettino: Toby Alderweireld not fit enough to face Juventus

Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld will not face Juventus on Tuesday as he believes the defender is not yet fit enough for a crunch Champions League tie.

Pochettino told Alderweireld he would miss the match in Turin during a conversation that lasted longer than two hours.

He told a press conference on Monday that to go up against a team like Juventus, every player needed to be at “200 per cent” fitness.

Alderweireld played 90 minutes against Newport in the FA Cup last week, having returned from a 14-week absence due to a hamstring tear.

The Belgian declared after the match he felt “very good” but was not included in the squad against Arsenal on Saturday and did not join Monday’s travelling party to Italy either.

“He is 28 and it was a massive injury that we need to take care and be cautious with because we cannot put his career at risk,” Pochettino said.

“To play this type of game you need to be 200 per cent. Competing is not the same as training and that’s why we are caring about him with our plan.”

Tottenham face a gargantuan task at the Allianz Stadium against a side that have conceded only one goal in their last 16 matches.

Juventus have also reached the Champions League final twice in the last three seasons while Spurs are into the knock-out stages for only the second time in their history, and first since 2011.

“I think Juventus is a massive club. We cannot compare with Juventus, in their history they won everything,” Pochettino said.

“Of course our dream is to reach the level of Juventus. We’re going to be competitive and we’ll see if we can compete tomorrow.”

Alderweireld is Tottenham’s only major absentee, meaning Pochettino could stick with the same team that beat Arsenal. Victor Wanyama could come in to add more resilience to the midfield.

Juventus have several key players out. Paulo Dybala is missing with a hamstring strain while Andrea Barzagli has joined Blaise Matuidi, Benedikt Howedes and Juan Cuadrado on the sidelines.

And defender Giorgio Chiellini admitted the depleted Serie A champions would have a difficult time keeping Tottenham’s ‘fab four’ quiet.

Harry Kane, with eight goals in his last seven games and 36 in 37 overall this season, was the talk of the Italian club’s pre-match press conference on Monday.

“Stopping one on one against Kane, just me alone, is pretty impossible,” Chiellini said.

“I’m not so presumptuous or arrogant to think I can and it’s not a goal I have. I hope the whole of Juventus can stop Tottenham, that is what matters.

“One to one clashes are important but the whole team will have to do its best to limit, not only Harry Kane, but they have this ‘fab four’ (Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min) in the attacking area.

“Tottenham are not just Harry Kane but a whole team.”

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