Premier League: Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino compares 'genius' Mousa Dembele with Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho

Tottenham make the short journey across London to take on Crystal Palace on Sunday with manager Mauricio Pochettino comparing midfielder Mousa Dembele to Diego Maradona.

AFP February 24, 2018 15:41:12 IST
Premier League: Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino compares 'genius' Mousa Dembele with Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho

London: Tottenham make the short journey across London to take on Crystal Palace on Sunday with manager Mauricio Pochettino comparing midfielder Mousa Dembele to Diego Maradona.

"I have said before that he is a genius of football," said the Spurs boss of the Belgium international.

Premier League Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino compares genius Mousa Dembele with Diego Maradona Ronaldinho

Tottenham's Mousa Dembele in action. Reuters

"I put him next to Ronaldinho, Maradona, (Jay-Jay) Okocha – players that I was lucky to play with.

"For me he is one of the unbelievable talents in the history of football. Now he is in an amazing moment and for me he deserves all the praises that people are giving him."

Those comments will certainly have raised a few eyebrows on both sides of the River Thames as Tottenham look to clamber above Chelsea and Liverpool, the teams directly above them in the Premier League.

The Argentinian has a full squad available with defender Toby Alderweireld the only doubt because of a hamstring problem sustained in a training session on Thursday.

The 28-year-old is Dembele's international team-mate and is expected to be a key figure in his nation's attempts to win the World Cup for the first time this summer.

However contract negotiations have stalled to the extent that he could well be at another club by then and Pochettino made it clear he would be playing no part in the talks.

"It is not my job and I cannot say anything about that," he said. "I am not involved in negotiations. I never talk about rumours, what the media say or what happens around the club."

Pochettino developed a relationship with Palace manager Roy Hodgson when the latter was in charge of England, and regularly picked Spurs players.

Tottenham beat Palace 1-0 at Wembley in December when Hodgson was beginning to lift the Eagles out of relegation trouble, having succeeded Frank de Boer in September.

"Roy and his staff are doing a fantastic job," Pochettino said.

"It will be good to see them again. But for me it will be a battle. We need to match them in the areas of motivation, ready to fight and then of course try to deliver our way and our game.

"Of course it will be very tough. It will be very important to win the three points, fighting for the top four. The idea is to win, the idea if to fight, to be ready. The three points are massive for us."

Palace’s hopes of putting distance between themselves and the bottom three have been hampered by a frustrating run of injuries that has deprived Hodgson of 12 senior players.

"It was always going to be a difficult game, even if I could resuscitate these 12 players and add them to those that we have to give us a very good squad, it would still be a tough game,” said Hodgson.

"Whatever way you look at it, we are a bottom of the table team at the moment and they are a team chasing not only the Champions League honours, they are chasing second place in the league."

Updated Date:

also read

Champions League: Pep Guardiola says Manchester City will use pain of loss to Chelsea in final as motivation
Sports

Champions League: Pep Guardiola says Manchester City will use pain of loss to Chelsea in final as motivation

The Premier League champions start their campaign against Bundesliga side RB Leipzig on Wednesday, less than four months after their painful 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Premier League: Pep Guardiola happy Bernardo Silva stayed at Manchester City after move talks
Sports

Premier League: Pep Guardiola happy Bernardo Silva stayed at Manchester City after move talks

Portugal's Silva was linked with a move away from the champions in the close season after Guardiola admitted he was concerned by his reduction in playing time last season.

Premier League: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp unsure about team selection after recent drama over South American World Cup qualifiers
Sports

Premier League: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp unsure about team selection after recent drama over South American World Cup qualifiers

Liverpool's Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Roberto Firminho were selected for this month's World Cup qualifiers in South America but Premier League clubs refused to release players due to the 10-day coronavirus isolation period required on return to Britain.