Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has joked that his side “does not exist” without Mousa Dembele.
Dembele has not been available for any of the Tottenham games of the current season, as he is suspended for having eye gouged Chelsea striker Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge last May. The incident happened at the end of the first half on the day Spurs said goodbye to their Premier League title hopes.
The Belgian midfielder who was an influential member of Tottenham’s rise last term still has one game to serve of a violent conduct charge and will not return to action until Spurs face Sunderland at White Hart Lane on September 18.
The 29-year-old’s influence was, once again, sorely missed during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool and Pochettino appears to be keen for Dembele to become available again.
“Without Mousa Dembele, we do not exist,” he joked. “Tottenham does not exist.
“I am joking because it is a difficult question.
“We played against Liverpool, and we need to show respect to the players that played,” Pochettino added.
Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier were fielded as Tottenham’s two central midfielders against Liverpool before the latter was forced to drop into an unfamiliar right-back role due to Kyle Walker’s injury.
But the duo struggled to provide the same combination of physicality and technique that Dembele does, with the Belgian often proving to be a crucial link between defence and attack.
However, Pochettino was pleased with his side’s performance overall and Spurs will go into the international break as one of just six Premier League sides yet to taste defeat this season.
“It was a very tough game, both teams played with passion, that is important and I thought we showed character.
“I’m only pleased with the players, the effort they made on the pitch was fantastic,” Pochettino insisted.
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