September 2, 2019 / 4:45 AM / 20 days ago

Soccer: Eriksen ready to focus 100% on Spurs after uncertain summer - Pochettino

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino said he was looking forward to Christian Eriksen being fully focused on his team once the European transfer window shuts on Monday after the midfielder starred in their thrilling 2-2 draw at Arsenal.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - September 1, 2019 Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/David Klein

The Argentine recalled Eriksen to the starting lineup for Sunday’s north London Premier League derby after benching him in two of Tottenham’s previous three games after the Dane was heavily linked with a move away in the close season.

The 27-year-old Eriksen, who is in the final year of his contract and could leave for free next June, put Spurs in front after 10 minutes with his 50th Premier League goal when Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno pushed a tame Erik Lamela shot into his path.

Harry Kane’s penalty gave Pochettino’s side a two-goal cushion but the hosts rallied and snatched a draw with strikes from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

“I was worried about the situation (with Eriksen) but I think he’ll be 100% focused after the transfer window ends, now he can focus on Tottenham,” Pochettino told a news conference.

“I don’t want to say it’s impossible that he leaves but it’s difficult now. I’m optimistic (he will stay), I hope everything will be clear. Today he was one of our top performers.”

Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen also returned to the team after being left out for their first three matches, including last week’s shock 1-0 defeat at home to Newcastle United.

Pochettino emphasised how much his side improved against Arsenal, even though they threw away the lead.

“The important thing is not where we are in the table or the points, it’s about the performance,” the Argentine added of his ninth-placed side who have five points, two behind Arsenal.

“Today we recovered our feelings, so I’m so optimistic about the rest of the season,” he said.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris

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