Tottenham Hotspur will be without captain Hugo Lloris for the Europa League last-32 first-leg against Fiorentina after he picked up a shoulder problem. The France international goalkeeper suffered the injury in the closing minutes of the victory over Manchester City and could miss the next two games, including the FA Cup fifth-round tie against Crystal Palace.
The 29-year-old is also considered a doubt for the second leg of the European tie against the Serie A opponents, a blow that threatens to derail the North Londoners' campaign. Lloris has kept nine clean sheets in the Premier League this season and has been one of the keys to the club's flirtation with a title tilt.
"In the match action against Manchester City, Hugo got a knock on his shoulder and is out tomorrow [Thursday 18 February against Fiorentina] and maybe out for Sunday [against Palace]," Pochettino explained, according to the club's official website. "There is however [Michel] Vorm who will replace him at best. We have a strong squad that and we do not change our objective, to win the race and show us as better than our opponent. We'll see next week if he's available to play the second leg against Fiorentina."
The return of the Europa League after a two-month gap is the first chance to test Tottenham's ability to balance the demands of a title challenge and an assault on a European trophy – which Pochettino has taken equally as seriously. Nevertheless, the Argentine boss is preparing to give his young players the opportunity to impress in Florence with both Josh Onomah and Cameron Carter-Vickers in the mix.
"Josh Onomah and Cameron Carter-Vickers are with us in the squad," he added. "That's very important but the squad is strong, we are in a good period and it's important to keep that."
Fiorentina and Tottenham meet in Europe's second-tier club competition for the second season in a row after La Viola prevailed 3-1 on aggregate last time out. While Pochettino's side are a vastly different proposition from the previous season, Fiorentina have also swapped their manager Vincenzo Montella with Paulo Sousa.
"Compared to last year this will be a very different game, not only because of us , but also because of Fiorentina," the Tottenham boss said, according to Goal.com. "Both teams have changed a lot in the way of playing and dealing the game. It will be difficult for us . We are both in the running Premier League and in Europe , but we think game by game and not to the future .Viola too are doing well in Serie A, we hope to be together next year in the Champions League ."