Tottenham will be without World Cup winner Hugo Lloris and England midfielder Dele Alli for Tuesday night’s Champions League opener against Inter Milan.
The club have announced that France goalkeeper Lloris will miss out with a thigh injury and Alli with a hamstring strain – fellow midfielder Moussa Sissoko is sidelined by a similar problem – in Italy.
Spurs tweeted shortly before their pre-match press conference in Milan: “@dele_official (hamstring), Hugo Lloris (thigh) and @MoussaSissoko (hamstring) all remain unavailable due to injury.”
All three players missed Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool as a result of their injuries.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino sprang something of a surprise when he revealed that defenders Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld had not travelled with the squad.
He said: “With a calf injury, Hugo Lloris is still out; Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko are still injured and they are in London.
“For a technical decision, Kieran Tripper and Toby Alderweireld are there too.”
Asked if Tripper and Alderweireld were injured, Pochettino said: “It was a technical decision. You can find it in the dictionary, technical decision. Maybe tactical also on the pitch, yes, it’s tactical too.
“But it’s a technical decision. You cannot bring 25 players and can only play 11 and seven on the bench. That is the reason.”
Pochettino also found himself having to mount a passionate defence of England skipper Harry Kane after a difficult start to the season for him after his World Cup exploits.
He said: “Harry is an easy target because it’s easy when he’s not scoring to start to talk about him. But Harry after four years at the club, there are a lot of things to say thank you to him.
“Of course he needs to improve, but the team needs to improve. But it’s easy to blame Harry. Because he’s up front, when the team loses and doesn’t score goals, it’s easy.
“But at the same time, it’s an easy judgement, it’s easy to analyse, to talk and always it’s about – maybe I am so repetitive and boring – the perception. Perception and reality are the opposites at our club.
“Maybe at a different club they have some good balance, but for us the perception with the reality are too far away.
“Every single fan in the last four years, every single person, every single team-mate of Harry needs to say thank you because when you see in the last four years what he has provided for the team, I think it’s too difficult to complain today because he is not scoring goals and because the team lost the last game or the game before.”