Mauricio Pochettino: 'Mousa Dembele playing time must be managed'

Pochettino: 'We must be careful with Dembele'
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Mauricio Pochettino remains cautious about overusing Mousa Dembele, despite the midfielder undergoing surgery in the summer to ease a long-standing foot injury.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that it is "important to manage" Mousa Dembele properly as he recovers from a foot problem.

The 30-year-old appeared to put his injury issues behind him when undergoing surgery at the end of last season to ease the long-standing damage.

Pochettino has named Dembele as a substitute in his last two league games against Everton and Swansea City, however, keeping the Belgian on the bench last time out against the Swans.

After using the midfielder in midweek games against Borussia Dortmund and Barnsley, Pochettino hinted that he may again overlook one of his "geniuses" for Saturday's showdown with West Ham United.

"It is so important to manage him properly," he told reporters. "We have very good communication with the doctor, physio, sports science and coaching staff to try to help him because to help him is to help the team.

"He is a player who I have told you many times is, for me, one of the geniuses that I have met in football. It is key to keep him fit and try to provide all the quality that he has to the team. He shares the decisions. That relationship is important in order to help him.

"It's a private matter, a medical matter, and it's so difficult to speak about – first of all, because I don't have the vocabulary in English to explain everything properly and then, to make a mistake, is so easy. It's better to be cautious about what I say [about his recovery]."

Dembele, who joined Spurs from Fulham for an undisclosed fee in 2012, started only one his side's final five matches last season.

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Mauricio Pochettino embraces Harry Kane during the Champions League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund on September 13, 2017
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