October 26, 2018 / 1:53 PM / in a month

Soccer: Alli in contention for Spurs return against City

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli could return for Monday’s Premier League clash with leaders Manchester City, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday.

Soccer Football - Carabao Cup - Third Round - Tottenham Hotspur v Watford - Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, Britain - September 26, 2018 Tottenham's Dele Alli reacts after scoring the winning penalty during the shootout. Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Alli has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since Tottenham’s League Cup win over Watford on Sept. 26.

Fifth-placed Tottenham could go above City with a fifth successive league victory and the possible return of Alli would be a boost against Pep Guardiola’s in-form side.

“It’s good news but we need to careful,” Pochettino told reporters at a news conference. “We are happy that he started (to train) today with the group. We hope he will be available for Monday but we are not sure if he’ll be in the squad.”

Tottenham’s 21 points from nine games represents their best start to a Premier League campaign but they suffered a massive setback to their Champions League hopes on Wednesday when they could only draw 2-2 away to PSV Eindhoven.

Keeper Hugo Lloris’s red card proved the catalyst for PSV’s late equaliser and Pochettino was asked about the mood of the French goalie whose season has been a mixed bag so far.

“He is very good but of course disappointed like all the team,” Pochettino said. “We deserved more in that game.

“For me Hugo is one of the best keepers in the world and he was man of the match against West Ham a few days before. Against PSV he wasn’t guilty of the result.

“These kind of actions can happen in football. In all the games we won he was one of the best players on the pitch and he didn’t play against Watford and Liverpool and we lost. I think in football people have short memories.”

With an NFL game between Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars taking place on the Wembley pitch on Sunday there are concerns about the condition of the playing surface when Tottenham host City at their temporary home.

“Maybe it’s good for us,” Pochettino joked. “Because we play one of the best teams in Europe and the world.

“No, it wasn’t the plan for us to be playing this game at Wembley but that’s the reality now. We hope the weather will be good and it doesn’t kill the pitch and we play in good conditions. I’m sure all those involved in the pitch will work hard to make sure it’s in good condition.”

Tottenham beat City at home in Guardiola’s first season in charge but went down 3-1 last season as City steamed to the title with a record 100 points.

City crushed Burnley 5-0 last weekend and followed up with a 3-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk and look in ominous form.

“For me they are the best team in England. Fantastic players and amazing manager and coaching staff. It’s a massive challenge for us,” Pochettino said.

Reporting by Martyn Herman

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