December 13, 2017
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Harry Kane during a training session at Tottenham's training base in north London. ― Reuters picHarry Kane during a training session at Tottenham’s training base in north London. ― Reuters picLONDON, Oct 31 ― Mauricio Pochettino is confident Harry Kane will be fit for Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League showdown with Real Madrid after the England striker took part in training today.

Kane missed Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United with a hamstring injury but showed no visible sign of discomfort during a light session at Tottenham’s training base in north London.

The 24-year-old was able to complete some short sprints and basic passing drills while at one point he made a hand gesture appearing to suggest he felt fine.

His return at Wembley tomorrow would be a huge boost for Tottenham, given Kane has scored five goals in three European games so far.

Pochettino is hopeful Kane, who has 13 club goals this season, will be ready to start against the European champions.

But, perhaps in a bid to keep Madrid guessing, he stopped short of declaring his forward was certain to feature.

“We’re very confident,” Pochettino said. “He’s on the list. Maybe it’s possible for him to play but I don’t want to say 100 per cent.

“He trained today but it is important we make the right decision.”

Tottenham are level on seven points with Real Madrid in Group H after the sides shared a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this month.

After losing their last two games against Manchester United in the Premier League and West Ham United in the League Cup, Pochettino’s side go into Wednesday’s match aiming to reestablish some momentum.

Pochettino called on his Tottenham stars to take the fight to Madrid as they bid for a famous victory.

“It’s a good opportunity and a great challenge. I have the belief we can win. I have faith in my players,” he said.

“We must play with freedom and enjoy the game. We have to show our quality.”

Even if Kane doesn’t play, Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen believes they can match Madrid.

“Harry is a very important player on and off the pitch for this group and having him is always a major boost but definitely we can beat them,” Vertonghen said.

“With or without Harry Kane, we go for the win.”

Alli boost

If Pochettino opts to keep Kane on the sidelines, at least he can welcome Dele Alli back from suspension.

England midfielder Alli was banned for Tottenham’s first three group games and has struggled to hit peak form this season.

But Pochettino is certain Alli’s involvement in Tottenham’s European campaign will boost his morale.

“When a player is not involved, you feel a little bit down,” he said.

“Sometimes he had to stay at the training ground, alone, training. It was not easy for anyone. Maybe he was affected a little bit about that.

“Now we’re so happy with the way he’s doing. His internal motivation is higher now, to try to compete at his best level. We’re very happy with his performances, he’s increasing his level.

“I’m not worried about him. It’s true, he’s disappointed too that he’s not at his best. But it’s coming, like the winter is coming.”

Madrid arrive in England on a downer after Sunday’s shock La Liga defeat at minnows Girona left them eight points behind leaders Barcelona.

They are also set to be without injured trio Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas and Raphael Varane against Tottenham.

But Pochettino has warned his side to expect a Madrid backlash.

“We’re not going to watch anything related to Girona. We only analyse the Champions League games and 15 days ago when we play against them,” Pochettino said.

“I think Real Madrid have the capacity and quality to change completely in two days.” ― AFP



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