Tonight’s Capital One Cup fixture is “an impossible game” according to Andre Villas-Boas and Paul Lambert is focused on Saturday’s Premier League match against Manchester City.
The managers have different sets of challenging circumstances to contend with: Spurs, having played, and won, away to Cardiff on Sunday, are unhappy with the scheduling while the Villa squad was hit with a number of knocks and injuries before and during Saturday’s vital victory against Lambert’s former club Norwich City.
Speaking to the press, Villas-Boas was quoted as saying that the fixture against Villa was “impossible”:
“This is an impossible game for us to play, but hopefully our team spirit and motivation can get us through,” he said.
“It (the Capital One Cup) is not our absolute number one priority but I don’t think we have been given a fair chance to play in this competition this year.
“It could be possible for the players who played against Cardiff to play this game, but I am not sure I want to risk the players who played getting a hamstring injury which could take them six weeks to recover from when the Premier League is more important.
“This team has not experienced having to play again after just two days and we have not been given the same chance as the other teams. So we will have to rotate our squad as the players who played in Cardiff will not be involved.
“We are struggling a little bit with injuries but we have great strength in depth, although it is not going to be easy.”
“It is difficult, the ideal situation for us would have been to play Wednesday,” he said. “I understand the situation for the police with a number of matches being played in Birmingham, but we do not have the same chance as other teams.
“Villa will not have to do the same (in terms of squad rotation) as they played on Saturday, so they have had an extra day of recovery.”
Villa are still waiting for news regarding the hip injury suffered by striker Christian Benteke. Manager Paul Lambert has told the media his team will do its best on Tuesday night but that the players are focused on Saturday’s Premier League fixture at home to Manchester City:
We’ve played really hard teams in this opening spell – three teams you think will be round about there in Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, and now we’ve got two more tough ones.
“The main one is Saturday but we’ll do our best to get through the Tottenham tie.”
Questioned about Benteke and other injuries, the manager said:
“It looks like his hip flexor at the moment. The good thing with Christian is he’s usually a quick healer. I don’t know how long, we’ll have to just wait and see.
“It’s hard to answer that because I don’t know how bad it is.
“Obviously we’ve got a game on Tuesday but the most important one is the following one on Saturday.
“Westy hurt himself in training. He’s just got a little strain. He’s been brilliant for us. To lose him was a blow. He was one and there were a few knocks, but we had to get them out there.
“(Antonio) Luna just trained on Friday so he was touch and go, obviously (Jores) Okore’s out, Gabby’s hurt his ankle, Fabian (Delph) has been struggling so the lads were running on empty. We’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time.”
Lambert admitted he may need to call upon some of the new boys and young lads to get the team through on Tuesday:
“Very much so. There might be one or two. The main one is the following Saturday. We’ll do our best to try to get through the Tottenham tie, but it’s a massive sign next Saturday.
“I’ve never questioned their commitment to us, to the football club, to themselves and to their team-mates. That was really pleasing, because I knew there were one or two knocks there.
Gabby only trained the later part of the week, so did Luna, two big players for us and they wanted to give it a go.”
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