Mauricio Pochettino: World Cup absentees put Tottenham at 'massive disadvantage'
Spurs boss refuses to confirm if Fernando Llorente is in his plans
By Stephen Mills
Last Updated: 26/07/18 9:07am
Mauricio Pochettino feels the absence of several World Cup stars puts Tottenham at a "massive disadvantage" during their preparations for the new Premier League season.
Doubles from Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente saw Spurs beat Roma 4-1 in a pre-season friendly in San Diego in the early hours of Thursday morning, but they were without a number of players who had reached the latter stages of Russia 2018.
Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Hugo Lloris, Kieran Trippier and Jan Vertonghen are among the players who are not involved in the tour matches and Pochettino insists the decision to schedule the start of the Premier League season just four weeks after the World Cup final has hurt his plans.
He said: "The players need to rest, the players need a period to recover after more than 10 months competition. I'm not going to complain about that.
"I completely understand that they need 20 or 21 days to be away from football. Of course that is a massive disadvantage because to prepare the season in that way will be tough for them.
"But I need to adapt to what the Premier League propose. We cannot delay the start of the season. We start earlier than other leagues and countries. There's nothing to do.
"I think we're all going to be in a similar condition. Some teams with more problems than others, but I think it's to translate the confidence and trust we have in the squad.
"I think today was a great opportunity for younger players to show their quality like Luke Amos, or of course Kyle Walker-Peters and Anthony Georgiou, George Marsh and Oliver Skipp, that can be important one day, that experience we can give them to play and it's so important to compete in that level and I am so happy about that.
"But I am not going to complain. That is the reality and we cannot change it."
Spurs' first match of the new campaign is against Newcastle on Saturday August 11 and Llorente enhanced his chances of featuring in that match with two goals in San Diego.
However, Pochettino refused to confirm that the Spanish striker is in his plans for the new season.
He said: "I'm not going to talk about individual situations because if I'm going to talk now about someone I need to speak about everyone.
"I am focusing on trying to work hard, trying to provide the team and every single player with the best tools to improve. Of course I'm happy when the striker scores and feels the net.
"They are working so hard. The pre-season is a little bit different to before because of the World Cup and we've got so many players away.
"But it's a massive opportunity for them to show and fight for one place in the starting XI.
"Then there are many rumours around the team. I cannot talk and I don't want to talk because I think we need to be focused on trying to work hard and try to arrive in the best way and in the best form for the first game of the season."
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