Tottenham vs Dortmund - Pochettino not surprised by Sancho’s development

Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2019 by PA

Tottenham vs Dortmund - Pochettino not surprised by Sancho’s development

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is not surprised to see Jadon Sancho hit the heights for Borussia Dortmund this season.

The 18-year-old midfielder has burst onto the scene at Dortmund after leaving Manchester City, where opportunities were limited, in August 2017 for £8million.

Sancho has scored eight goals and produced 11 assists in all competitions for the German side, form which earned him England recognition before Christmas.

Sancho, who was involved in all three goals in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim, will return to Wembley with Dortmund on Wednesday as they play Spurs in the first leg of a last-16 Champions League tie.

Pochettino, who hinted Sancho was on Spurs’ radar when he left City, expected the youngster to make waves if he got action.

“We knew very well that he was capable to do what he is doing now with game time,” said Pochettino.

“Of course, he is showing now in Germany that he can cope with the pressure to play in the Bundesliga or in the Champions League. And no surprise to me.

“We have seen the quality that he was showing in Manchester City or in his national team.

“I think we were talking in the last few years that he was a massive prospect to be a very good player. His talent is there and he’s a very talented player.”

Jan Vertonghen is set for a more testing evening than he might have otherwise expected as the Belgian looks set to start at left-back following injuries to Danny Rose and Ben Davies.

Rose will have a fitness test on Wednesday morning to see whether he can be on the bench.

Vertonghen, who has played that position for Spurs and his national team, will be hoping Sancho has an off-day like Tuesday – when he delayed Dortmund’s departure by forgetting his passport.

Spurs, who beat Dortmund twice in last season’s group stage, have also picked up results against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus.

Vertonghen is confident Tottenham can reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011.

“We can beat anyone,” he added. “We have shown that last year. Over two games we were the better team against Real Madrid who were the eventual winners of the trophy.

“That is why it was a shame we could not do better last year because we felt we should have done better. That is why everyone has the feeling we can do it this year.”

While Tottenham will again be without Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and potentially Rose, Dortmund also have injury concerns.

Marco Reus has a muscle injury and misses out along with Manuel Akanji, Paco Alcacer, Julian Wiegl and Lukasz Piszczek.

Boss Lucien Favre, who is also suffering from flu, did not dwell on his absentees.

He said: “I can’t talk about missing players – there are a lot missing – but it will be very difficult even with a full squad.

“They are a couple of points behind Liverpool in the Premier League and it says a lot.

“There are a lot of players missing, the team is like a puzzle sometimes and pieces are missing, but we carry on.

“Tottenham also have two players who are missing in Kane and Alli and we have other players who aren’t here but we can talk about it – but they are not here and we have to carry on.”

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