Football

Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal defiant against the odds in Tottenham clash

Tottenham arrive at the Liberty Stadium this evening as firm favourites to extend their unbeaten run over the Welsh side and push their opposition into further relegation woe.

But after a dramatic 2-1 comeback win at Watford and the arrival of new boss Carvalhal, Swansea believe a rise in confidence can help them finally end their Spurs hoodoo.

“The win at Watford was a step forward and now we have to keep going and keep fighting. Football is all about confidence,” said forward Jordan Ayew.

“We showed that at Watford. When you have confidence you can do better things. We worked very hard and we were rewarded.

“We only had two days training under Carlos, but he told us we had to run more and be more aggressive. Those were the key things.

“Tottenham is a big game and we have nothing to lose. We need to keep on running and keep playing the Swansea way.”

Kyle Naughton’s three-match ban for stamping on Watford striker Stefano Okaka at Vicarage Road means Angel Rangel will step in at right-back.

Wilfried Bony will be assessed to see if he can feature, with Tammy Abraham and Oli McBurnie also in contention to feature up front.

Young striker McBurnie impressed against Watford as a substitute, proving a willing runner and helping to create Ayew’s equaliser.

“We have to push on and take the belief from Watford into the Tottenham game,” he said.

“It will be a very tough game, but it’s a challenge we can look forward to in front of our home fans. 

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“Confidence is a big factor for us and we have to use Watford as a platform and build on it and continue to go from strength to strength.”

Spurs travel with Harry Kane, a hat-trick scorer in his last two games, a doubt because of illness.

A Wembley derby with West Ham follows rapidly on Thursday so it would be no surprise if Tottenham’s talisman was allowed to sit out the trip.

That would present a first league start for Fernando Llorente, the World Cup-winner bought for £12million in the summer, against the club that sold him. 

The Spain forward, 32, has scored just once so far, in a Champions League tie against Apoel Nicosia, but the versatility of Son Heung-min means Mauricio Pochettino is not concerned, however.

“Sonny is not a specialist,” said the Spurs boss. “He is not a striker but he can play like a striker. He is not a winger but can play on the wing. He is not a No10 who plays in the pockets but can play there. That is the good thing in the squad.”

South Korea forward Son, a superstar in his homeland, is perhaps the most under-rated member of the Tottenham squad.

He has scored 38 goals in 113 appearances since joining for £22m in August 2015 from Bayer Leverkusen and has nine to his name so far this season.

“He is so important for us,” Pochettino said. “He is scoring a lot of goals and he is very consistent in training and in his performances. 

“It is true that maybe he doesn’t get the headlines of Harry and other players but it is good to recognise him. He is a great guy and a very good professional. He is always there and he scores a lot of goals.”

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