Tottenham Hotspur V Barnsley at Wembley Stadium : Match Preview

18 September 2017
Pochettino prioritising Premier League and Champions League over domestic cups

Mauricio Pochettino claims it would be a mistake for Tottenham to win a domestic cup this season at the expense of their form in the Champions League and Premier League.

Pochettino's side are yet to lift a trophy during his three-year spell in charge and the club has only won two pieces of major silverware in the last 20 years.

Each of those came in the League Cup, in 1999 and most recently 2008, with Spurs beginning a fresh tilt at the tournament on Tuesday, when they host Championship strugglers Barnsley in the third round.

Manchester United are the holders, and Jose Mourinho has even said he targeted the League Cup last season to inject a winning feeling into his squad. Pochettino's priorities, however, lie elsewhere.

"The project here at Tottenham is to try to win the Premier League or the Champions League," Pochettino said.

"For me, that is the two big trophies. Okay, I would love to win the Carabao Cup or the FA Cup for our fans. But Tottenham must build a project with the possibility to fight for the Champions League or Premier League.

"Sorry, first of all it is the Premier League and then the Champions League. If we are going to try to win the Carabao Cup or FA Cup, and forget the Premier League or Champions League, it's a big mistake.

"I think, what it means for a big team to win trophies, is to win the Premier League or Champions League.

"There are a lot of examples: in my second season at Southampton, Wigan won the FA Cup. Where is Wigan today, with all my respect? League One.

"Look, that is the most important example - of course, I would like to win trophies but first of all we'll fight for the Premier League or the Champions League."

It means Pochettino will rotate a number of key players at Wembley, with a London derby at West Ham to come on Saturday before a trip to APOEL in the Champions League next week.

Fernando Llorente is expected to be given his first Spurs start ahead of Harry Kane while another summer signing, the 19-year-old Argentinian defender Juan Foyth, could be handed his debut.

Harry Winks, Kyle Walker-Peters, and Tashan Oakley-Boothe are among the academy graduates likely to be involved but there will be no place in the squad for the talented Marcus Edwards, whom Pochettino likened to a young Lionel Messi last year.

Barnsley will monitor Ryan Hedges ahead of their trip.

Hedges suffered a knock to his knee in Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa and is a concern for the visit to Wembley.

There are no other fresh worries for boss Paul Heckingbottom, who is still without Lloyd Isgrove (foot) and Andy Yiadom.

Heckingbottom has not decided on his starting XI but returns to a happy hunting ground, having won twice at the national stadium in the 2015-16 season.