Pochettino sets sights on top spot ahead of Bournemouth trip
(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has urged his players to climb to the summit of the Premier League for the first time this season by beating Bournemouth on Saturday, although he has a trio of injuries to worry about.
Spurs, the league's only unbeaten side after eight games, dropped into third place last weekend after drawing 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion, and trail bitter north London rivals Arsenal and leaders Manchester City by a point.
Pochettino's men can go top for at least a few hours if they beat Bournemouth in the weekend's early kickoff, with Arsenal hosting Middlesbrough later on Saturday and City facing Southampton on Sunday.
"It's a big motivation for us to finish the game and take the three points to be top of the table. Better motivation is impossible," Pochettino told reporters on Thursday.
"For that, today, the motivation was very good on the training ground on the pitch. Our players are very conscious about that and it's a good opportunity to see us at the top of the table.
"First of all we need to win the game, in front we have a very good team and a great manager like Eddie Howe -- it will be a very tough game."
Bournemouth have been in fine form at home, capping a run of three straight wins at the Vitality Stadium with a 6-1 demolition of Hull City last weekend.
Pochettino's task is complicated by the continued absence of defender Toby Alderweireld and striker Harry Kane, while left back Danny Rose is also a doubt after picking up a knock in the Champions League in midweek.
Kane was carried off with an ankle injury against Sunderland last month, but has started light training with the ball.
"We need to assess him every day," Pochettino said. "It is true this weekend he is not available, no. As soon as possible when the confirmation is available I will explain."
Alderweireld hurt his knee in Tottenham's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, and the trip to Bournemouth will come too early for him, although the Argentine said the centre back's injury was not major.
"The scan is clear. It's clean. But he still feels pain in his leg. He is recovering well but we need to wait. He's like Harry, he is not available for the weekend too. We are happy because it is not a big issue," Pochettino added.
(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)