Tottenham Hotspur V West Ham at White Hart Lane : Match Preview

By
18 November 2016
Tottenham Hotspur V West Ham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Mauricio Pochettino has no plans to man-mark Dimitri Payet when West Ham visit

Mauricio Pochettino has instructed Tottenham to pay special attention to Dimitri Payet on Saturday but says there is no plan to man-mark the West Ham playmaker.

Payet is yet to hit the heady heights of his debut season in the Premier League but has still scored or assisted five of the Hammers' 11 goals this term.

He remains the greatest threat to Spurs registering their first win in eight matches this weekend. But asked if Pochettino plans to try and mark the Frenchman out of the game, he said: "No, because we never play like this.

"We have played against top players during (my) two and a half years at Tottenham and you can see we never focus on that type of player, like (Eden) Hazard or David Silva who can change a game."

Pochettino continued: "It never was my intention when I started as a manager, facing Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, to try to do something special or be focused on trying to stop this type of player.

"The most important thing is to try to recover the ball quickly, to have the ball more than them, to try to focus on how we need to damage our opponent.

"It's true that when you are close, you have in front of you a type of player like Payet in this case, it's true that the players who are in his zone need to be aggressive, tight, try to anticipate, and not give him space to play.

"It's true that we're talking about that. But it's not a special mark on him."

Spurs host their London rivals on the back of four consecutive draws in the league but there were encouraging signs before the international break, when they took a point away from in-form Arsenal.

Toby Alderweireld remains out with a leg injury while Dele Alli is close to recovering from a knee problem but may not be risked, with crunch trips to Monaco in the Champions League and Chelsea coming up next week.

Harry Kane is expected to start against West Ham but three matches in a week may prove too much for the striker, who is still regaining fitness after seven weeks out with an ankle injury.

Slaven Bilic has been left in no doubt about the fierce rivalry between West Ham and Tottenham - because the local taxi drivers keep reminding him.

"It is special, Spurs away. You have other London derbies but for me this has always been one of the biggest games," said Bilic, who made his debut as a West Ham player in a 1-0 win at Spurs in 1996.

"I don't know why, maybe you have to look back at the history between the clubs.

"But most of the cab drivers are either Spurs or West Ham, so two weeks before the game and you get into a cab, you either have one or the other.

"Most of them are West Ham or Spurs, or they are polite and don't say. They have to be polite because they are cab drivers.

"But sometimes they leave you a couple of blocks from your destination - and then you know they are Spurs!"

The Croatian will be hoping it is not a case of 'taxi for Bilic' this time next month after a horror run of fixtures.

The Hammers are already struggling in 17th, just a point above the drop zone, and after Spurs they face Manchester United - in the league and the EFL Cup - followed by Arsenal and Liverpool.


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