Spurs to welcome back Lloris, Rose, Eriksen and Lamela vs. Man United
LONDON -- Hugo Lloris, Danny Rose, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are back in the Tottenham squad for Wednesday's match against Manchester United but Toby Alderweireld is still unavailable.
Rose has been sidelined since Boxing Day after twisting his knee against Southampton, while Lloris and Eriksen have both missed the last two matches through illness.
Lamela missed Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round 1-1 draw at Newport with a strained gluteus but all four have returned to full training ahead of United's visit to Wembley.
But Alderweireld, who has been in light training for over a week, having been sidelined since Nov. 1 with a hamstring problem, is still not match fit, while Harry Winks (ankle) and Serge Aurier (calf) are also unavailable, despite returning to light training outdoors.
Fifth-place Spurs trail United by eight points, while they face Liverpool, who are two points clear in fourth place, on Sunday and Arsenal the following weekend, before the two-legged Champions League round-of-16 tie against Juventus.
Asked if the next month would be season-defining, Pochettino said: "I don't believe so. In the Champions League, of course, yes.
"But in the Premier League, there are a lot of games after United and Liverpool to play. But I'm confident of good results, and it's important to be there and reduce the gap. To be in the top four [it's important] to play with a big side like United, Liverpool and Arsenal.
"I think it's not key, there's a lot of games to play. But yes, it's so important to win games to be close and have possibility to fight to the end. I don't think the key to the top four is win tomorrow or win on Sunday. But yes, it's so important to put yourself in a good position in the table and in the end be there.
"When you play at Wembley against Manchester United, if you don't compete at the same level as them, you're going to struggle a little bit. The team is going to be ready to compete, knowing it's such an important game, we can close gap to second in table and put ourselves in a good position. We are conscious about that."
Pochettino played down the threat of Alexis Sanchez, who is expected to make his Premier League debut for United.
"He's a great player of course. One more for Manchester United added to their squad," Pochettino said. "Alexis Sanchez, [Juan] Mata, [Jesse] Lingard, [Marcus] Rashford, [Anthony] Martial, [Romelu] Lukaku, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. Plenty of talented players and one option more, another great player."
Pochettino refused to comment on Spurs' imminent signing of Lucas Moura for £25 million from Paris Saint-Germain, saying only that the club would communicate any news in due course.
He also said he "knew nothing" about reports that Fernando Llorente could leave the club with Vincent Janssen returning from his loan spell at Fenerbahce.
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.