Tottenham do not need to panic buy, says Danny Murphy

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Dele Alli is the latest Tottenham attacker set for a spell on the sidelines.

Former Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy says the club should not be panicked into buying a forward during the January transfer window, despite Dele Alli joining Harry Kane on the injury list this weekend.

Alli picked up a hamstring injury during Sunday’s 2-1 win over Fulham and will be assessed over the coming days, and the England midfielder will almost certainly miss Thursday’s crucial Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea.

With Hueng-min Son away on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup and Kane not due back until early March, Spurs are short on attacking options during a crucial phase of their season as they look to maintain their spot in the Premier League‘s top four – with a title challenge more or less over after last week’s loss to Manchester United.

Fernando Llorente started up front against Fulham – and scored an own goal – but the Spaniard has managed only one league goal for Spurs since joining the club in 2017.

However, BBC Match of the Day 2 pundit Murphy said Spurs do not need to look to the transfer market to solve their injury crisis.

“Who are they going to bring in who is better than Son or Kane, who have scored almost half of their league goals?” Murphy asked.

“And, following that, will he be happy sitting on the bench when they return?”

“As Pochettino said himself last week, I am not sure there are too many players out there of the quality Spurs want and need, especially willing to go in as a short-term fix.”

The former Liverpool and Fulham midfielder, who played for Spurs for one season, also cited the spirit within Spurs’ squad and warned that bringing in a new player could upset that.

“I am not suggesting that any new player might destroy that, but it might upset the dynamic of the group,” Murphy added.

“When I look at Spurs’ players, none of them seem to have any kind of negative reaction when they are left out. They seem to understand their manager’s philosophy, and they play for him.

“I just don’t see how bringing in a player as a short-term fix would work out well, and in any case I believe their squad is strong enough to get them through the next few weeks – even if they’re missing Alli as well as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.”

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Tottenham wait to hear on extent of Dele Alli's hamstring injury

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Dele Alli was taken off after suffering a hamstring injury.

Tottenham are hoping that Dele Alli is not the latest attacking player they will lose to injury or being unavailable.

The England international came off during Sunday’s last-gasp 2-1 win at Fulham with a hamstring injury and boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted that it did “not look great”.

Alli had earlier scored an equaliser at Craven Cottage after Fernando Llorente’s own goal put Fulham in front and he watched from the bench as Harry Winks headed a winner deep into time added on.

Another injury to an attacking player is the last thing Pochettino needs, given the absence of the injured Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, who is on international duty, over the next few weeks.

It looks highly unlikely that England international Alli, who has already been out twice this season with hamstring problems, will be fit to face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

Pochettino said: “You know very well the action. We need to assess him in the next few days.

“The hamstring is a muscle we need to be careful with, but it doesn’t look great. On the pitch, we all agree that when you see him put his hands on his hamstring you feel…it’s not great.”

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri was concerned by his side’s lack of experience after losing the game at the death.

The Cottagers sent a free-kick into the Spurs penalty area in the final stages of time added on, which the visitors cleared and then went up the other end and scored.

The Italian praised his side’s performance but was exasperated by that decision.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “Our first half was fantastic and we also had a penalty the referee didn’t see. There was a big penalty on (Aleksandar) Mitrovic.

“Second half we controlled the match very well in different ways. We gave a gift with the first goal and the second goal is unbelievable.

“We have a lot of free-kicks and I said to players, ‘Why do we have to put the ball in the box?’

“We lack experience. Calm, stay calm, keep possession, finish the match.

“We are alive, we continue to fight, the team showed fantastic performance. I can only say well done. But stay smart until the end. A lot of them the first time they play in the Premier League.”

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Pep Guardiola demands more from Man City despite routine win over Huddersfield

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Pep Guardiola

Manchester City smashed through the 100-goal barrier this season in their 3-0 win at managerless Huddersfield – but boss Pep Guardiola wants more.

The champions cruised to their fourth straight Premier League win thanks to Danilo’s first-half deflected effort and quickfire goals from Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane early in the second period.

But, despite closing the gap on leaders Liverpool to four points and scoring their 102nd goal in all competitions this season, City were not at their best and Guardiola has called for improvement.

“We are happy we have won, but immediately we have to analyse what we have done and to win in the future we have to play good,” he said.

“During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.

“All the teams have that, but to arrive in the last stage of competitions our game will have to improve.”

Asked how he could expect his side to get better, Guardiola said: “Our pace, more passes in a row – we were not able to make a lot of passes. Always in football when you play good you have the ball as much as possible.”

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