Will Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld be available for the game?
Mauricio Pochettino: “Yes, they trained well this morning and they will be available for tomorrow. We have a few issues – Kieran Trippier got a knock to his hip during the FA Cup game and he needs a few days more but it’s not a big problem, it was only a knock and in a few days he will be available again. Then GK Nkoudou, in the first half, got a knock to his knee and this afternoon he is going to have a scan to see (what the issue is) but we hope that it’s not a big problem. Jan Vertonghen is recovering well and with Erik Lamela, we need to be careful with him and assess him day-by-day. It’s positive and we’ll see what happens in the next few days.”
How much significance are you putting on the game against Sunderland?
Mauricio: “For me, every game in the Premier League is important. We are in a position where it’s important for us to get the three points. It’s true that it will be a tough game because Sunderland need the points too and it’s always tough to play in the Premier League but our idea and our objective is to try to get the three points for us to be close to being on top (of the table), to keep our position and maybe improve it so it’s important to win the three points.”
How much did you learn about your fringe players on Saturday against Wycombe?
Mauricio: “A lot, but at the same time I need to say that it’s always difficult when you play against a team that is super-motivated to play. When you are not playing regularly in the starting XI it’s a completely different world, it’s very difficult but it’s the beauty of the FA Cup. The FA Cup is magic, it’s a completely different competition than others. You can see that because yesterday I enjoyed watching Sutton against Leeds a lot – a non-league team beating one of the best teams in the Championship. That is special, it only happens here in England and it’s for that reason that you can feel that it’s a special competition. (We learned) a lot of positive things, I think that we played much better than them but when you play a team like Wycombe in League Two, before the game people can feel that it’s a nice game, (expect it to be) 5-0 after 15 minutes but football is not like this. It’s true that it was difficult for them to play and for that reason it’s not a time to judge too much, only to be positive and take positive things. It was a very good experience to compete for a lot of players.”
Are there similarities with the Sunderland game tomorrow in the sense that you’re the favourites to win?
Mauricio: “I think the pressure is the same. It’s up to you how you feel in football. We need to feel the same – that the three points are important for them, but they are very important for us too. We need to be aware of the pressure and it’s a game that we need to win, we need to get the three points because at the end of the season we need to fight for big things and it will bring us the possibility to keep our position, maybe improve it and be close to the top of the table and for that it’s a very important game.”
Cameron Carter-Vickers had a big test against Adebayo Akinfenwa at the weekend – how important was a game like that for his development?
Mauricio: “I think it was very important and I am very happy with his performance. To play against Akinfenwa, not too many centre-backs can fight with him, he’s really a beast and it surprised me because when you watch some videos you say he’s big, he’s a good player, but it surprised me in the way he was. I am very happy with Cameron because he challenged every time with him, it was very difficult to stop him and it’s true that we conceded three goals but you know it was a very special situation and, for me, it’s an experience for him because he’s 19 years old and it was a massive step to improve and learn.”
It was a positive showing from Vincent Janssen against Wycombe as well…
Mauricio: “I think the decision was good, to try to pull out the pressure. He was too much under pressure in the last few weeks, he needs to be relaxed, calm and only train hard. I think it was a good opportunity for him to show his character and personality, take the penalty and score. I am happy and only now we need time to build his trust, his confidence. Be sure that we will give him the possibility to rebuild his trust and confidence.”