By Agence France-Presse
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has welcomed the prospect of a three-week break for his exhausted and injury-ravaged squad before they face Liverpool in the Champions League final ahead of their last Premier League match of the campaign.
The scheduling of the showpiece match on June 1 in Madrid has been criticised as it falls just days before the UEFA Nations League finals, giving England manager Gareth Southgate a headache.
But Pochettino is relieved as it allows his injured stars such as Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen and Harry Winks time to recover and gives his side the best possible chance to be crowned European champions for the first time.
Kane was seen running onto the pitch to celebrate Tottenham’s dramatic semi-final win at Ajax on Wednesday and said he hopes to be fit.
Winks is recovering from groin surgery and Vertonghen left the Johan Cruyff Arena on crutches after sustaining an ankle injury in Amsterdam.
“With our circumstance, it is good for us, because it gives us time to recover some players like Harry Kane or Harry Winks and to have all of the squad fit to play the most important game in the history of the club,” said Pochettino.
“It is fantastic to have the possibility to recover the players and have the squad fit, to have more possibility to have more alternatives.
“For us, it is good today. Maybe for Liverpool, it is not so good. It all depends on circumstance, for our circumstance it is good.”
On Vertonghen’s chances of recovery, he added: “We need to assess, I think it is not a big issue because he finished the game, but it’s true that now his ankle is swollen, but we hope it is not a big problem.”
Tottenham host Everton in their final Premier League game of the campaign on Sunday, but look to have sealed Champions League qualification for next season via a top-four finish.
To overhaul their north London rivals, fifth-placed Arsenal would need to win at Burnley, hope Spurs lose and achieve an eight-goal swing in goal difference.