Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has refused to rule Harry Kane out of Sunday’s Premier League clash at Chelsea , despite the club earlier suggesting he would miss the game.
The striker suffered ankle ligament damage before the international break and Spurs said he would not be ready to return to training until April.
The north London confirmed on Thursday that Kane had “stepped up his rehabilitation”, suggesting he was still not fit enough to return.
But Pochettino insisted later in a press conference he will givethe stirker every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the clash.
“We need to assess him. He is very positive and he is doing very well. Every day he is improving,” Pochettino said.
“We need to assess in the next few days. It’s difficult now to say yes or no. I cannot say no, but I cannot say yes.
“Maybe next weekend. But the most important (thing) is that we are so positive about his recovery, and we are doing fantastic, and we are so happy.
“After Bournemouth everybody believed it would be a long period out, but the resolution has been fantastic.”
Spurs could do with their 31-goal striker being fit as they head across London hoping to take a significant step towards Champions League qualification, while also ending a 28-year hoodoo at Stamford Bridge.
Pochettino, who ranks Spurs’ rivalry with Chelsea on a par with Arsenal , does not think it is a winner-takes-all game.
“I think it’s always a massive game because it’s a London derby,” he said. “It will be a massive game for both teams.
“When you play this type of game, the pressure is for both teams.
“Of course there is still a lot of games to play, this is not a final, this is not a decisive game, but always it is important for your confidence, your motivation. To win in Chelsea would be fantastic for everyone.
“But for sure it will be a very tough game. They are a very good team, and always it is tough to compete with them.
“I think to compare with Arsenal, it is similar in everything. Arsenal and Chelsea always are tough games, because they are derbies, and for me it is a similar type of opponent. But for us, three points for us will be fantastic.”
On his side’s dismal record at Chelsea – Kane was not even born when Tottenham last won there in 1990 – Pochettino added: “I think it is not a point to be focused on for us. We are focused, and we must be focused on the win and the performance.
“History is history and is there, but it is not going to help. That is not what counts.”
Harry Winks will miss out with an ankle injury, but Toby Alderweireld is hoping to be involved.