Preview: Spurs v Man United

Tottenham will look to keep their slim title hopes alive when they welcome Manchester United to White Hart Lane on Sunday in the late kick-off.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side trail Premier League leaders Leicester by seven points with just six games remaining in the season and they will be hoping to stay in the title race for as long as possible.

However, Spurs have made their task that much harder following a disappointing run which has seen them win just two of their last five league matches.

The 1-0 defeat at West Ham last month halted a six-game winning streak for the north Londoners, who then managed back-to-back victories over Aston Villa and Bournemouth before being held to a 1-1 draw by Liverpool last time out.

Pochettino is expecting another stern test from the Red Devils this weekend, telling Spurs TV: “There is a lot of younger players on the team. It’s a team that concedes not too many goals, good organisation, good individual players and we will expect a very tough game.

“You know always Manchester United is a very big size, a good team, a great manager and it’s a very difficult game for us.”

United, meanwhile, have boosted their bid for Champions League football with successive wins against Manchester City and Everton, which has taken them to within a point of the fourth-placed Citizens.

Louis van Gaal’s men are on a good run of form in the top flight, having won four of their last five outings – their one slip-up a 1-0 reverse at West Brom on March 6.

Van Gaal is impressed with the way Pochettino has transformed his team into a well-oiled machine at both ends of the pitch this term.

“I think that they have a very good squad and I have said this also last year,” the Dutchman said in his pre-match press conference.

“He [Pochettino] has made a team of this squad, a team that presses high with a good positional game and they score a lot of goals.

“They also have a lot of clean sheets though, which show they are a well-organised and structured team. I think you can give credit to Mauricio Pochettino.”

Harry Kane will attempt to cement his claim for the Golden Boot as he leads the league’s scoring charts with 22 goals, three ahead of Foxes striker Jamie Vardy in second place.

The Spurs striker has netted in each of his last five outings for the club, with six goals during that run seeing him overtake compatriot Vardy.

Anthony Martial is the Red Devils’ top scorer in the league this term with eight goals, but he is just five shy of setting a new club record for strikes by a teenager in his debut season, currently shared by Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney (17 each), with the Frenchman currently on 13 goals in all competitions.

The two teams last met on the opening day of the campaign, when United emerged 1-0 victors at Old Trafford. Spurs then embarked on an impressive 14-game unbeaten run in the league which set a new club record and paved the way for their title challenge.

The Red Devils are undefeated in their last 14 outings to White Hart Lane, with their last loss (3-1) coming in May 2001. But they have also not managed to win there for three seasons now following three draws in the north of the capital.

In team news, Erik Lamela is expected to return for the hosts after recovering from a calf injury, which sidelined the winger for the clash with the Reds.

However, Pochettino will assess the fitness of defender Jan Vertonghen and forward Clinton N’Jie (both knee) closer to kick-off.

The visitors remain without skipper Wayne Rooney, but the striker is closing in on a comeback after training with the squad this week and will be given a runout for the Under-21’s next week to build up his match fitness.

Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia have both returned to full training after featuring for the second string on Monday in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea and could come into contention this weekend.

But Adnan Januzaj misses out once again as the attacking midfielder struggles to overcome a hamstring injury.

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