Tottenham’s bid to cling onto onto fourth spot in the Premier League after their exit from the Champions League at the hands of AC Milan continues with a trip to Southampton on Saturday.
Any match against the team at the bottom of the table for a team in Spurs’ position has to end with three points, especially with Liverpool and Newcastle now giving serious chase for fourth place.
Antonio Conte may seemingly be at war with some of the members of his squad but he must get the best out of them for the final 11 games of the season. They could well be Conte’s final matches in charge of Spurs.
Here is the XI the Italian coach may go with to secure three points on the south coast.
GK: Fraser Forster – Standing in for the injured Hugo Lloris, Forster needs to make sure he can do a solid job and saved a penalty in the victory over Forest.
CB: Cristian Romero – His hot-headed way of defending can be very endearing for fans of his own team but Romero has left Spurs in the lurch many times. He will need to be as solid and available as possible during the run-in for Spurs.
CB: Eric Dier – He has been a very consistent figure in Tottenham’s defence all season and there is no reason for that to change as the end of the season approaches.
CB: Clement Lenglet – The Frenchman will be hoping that his midfield and forwards make it a fairly quiet day for him at the back against Southampton.
RWB: Pedro Porro – With Emerson Royal being out recently but possibly fit to return here, we could see whether Porro has done enough to convince Conte that it is his position.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – The Dane is one of the many very solid players at Spurs that should have the ability to run this sort of match for their team.
CM: Oliver Skipp – Skipp has carved out a role for himself at Spurs under Conte which suits him and there were some shouts to have him in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad. Conte is expected to stick with him here.
LWB: Ben Davies – This wing back role is not what Davies is best suited to but Ivan Perisic has struggled recently and with Ryan Sessegnon injured, the Welshman is showing how valuable his versatility is.
RW: Richarlison – After the war of words with Conte, the Italian coach seems willing to give Richarlison a run of games now he is fit and it is up to the Brazilian to take it.
ST: Harry Kane – With so much talk about the England captain potentially leaving the club, Spurs fans may need to savour the remaining games this season in which he will surely score some goals.
LW: Son Heung-min – The South Korea international has been struggling for form but there is no chance Conte is going to stop using him.