Premier League

Mauricio Pochettino says title bid is affected by Jamie Vardy's suspension

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ByPA Sport
22/04/2016 at 14:11 | Updated 22/04/2016 at 14:13

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino predicts Jamie Vardy's suspension will have a "big impact" on Leicester's title challenge.

Vardy has accepted a charge of improper conduct for his confrontation with referee Jon Moss last weekend and the striker now faces a two-match ban.

The striker, who has inspired the Foxes with 22 goals this season, will sit out the game at home to Swansea on Sunday and is also set to miss a trip to Manchester United seven days later.

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Spurs cranked up the pressure last weekend, reducing the gap at the top to five points after Leicester were held at West Ham, and Pochettino believes Vardy will be a big miss for their rivals.

"I think that it's a big impact for Leicester because Vardy is one of the best players in the Premier League. Sure, it's a big impact for them," Pochettino said.

"I think Leicester have very good players and are in a position that they deserve to be, this is important, nobody gave nothing for nothing.

"But he's one of the best strikers in the Premier League. I am sure they will feel that but they have different players that can play the same way.

"We are in the race for the title and I, like our supporters, hope Leicester will drop points in the next game so we can erase the gap."

Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dele Alli are both nominees at the PFA awards on Sunday night with Kane a contender in both the Players' Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year categories, and Alli in the running for the Young Player of the Year prize.

Kane and Alli, however, will not be attending the ceremony in London as Pochettino believes it comes too close to Tottenham's game against West Brom on Monday.

"The players will be at home but this is normal, I think people will understand," Pochettino said.

"It's a shame because we play on Monday. It's true the players would like to go but I think the responsibility when you have a big game on Monday is to stay at home, rest and be focused on the game."

Kane has enjoyed another remarkable campaign, scoring 24 league goals - the most in the division so far - and becoming the first English player to hit the net 20 times in consecutive seasons since Alan Shearer in 1997.

The 22-year-old made a slow start in August when he managed only one goal in his opening nine league games, but the forward has since proved the doubters wrong.

"The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and for some periods, when you have a player like Harry Kane, people need to speak and they can doubt whether he can repeat the same season," Pochettino said.

"But Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world and he has proved that it wasn't only one season. We are now in the second season and he's showed his real quality.

"For us, we never had any doubts about him. From day one we knew that he would achieve everything because of his mentality, his passion and hunger are fantastic.

"He showed fantastic skill and that he's one of the best in the world."

Tottenham have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Monday's match at White Hart Lane, with Nabil Bentaleb (knee) the only first-team absentee.

Clinton Njie has recovered from his own knee problem but may not make the squad.

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