Mauricio Pochettino has delivered a positive update on the recovery of Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen. The influential Belgian was forced off during the second-half of last weekend's dominant 4-0 Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane after appearing to roll his ankle.
Vertonghen's frustrated banging of the turf and eventual tears suggested that the injury was serious, with his manager admitting after the game that it looked "very bad". Concern abounded that he may be set to miss around two months after scans on the swollen joint showed a ligament tear falling between grades two and three, although Pochettino is relieved to reveal that the problem is not as serious as first feared.
"Jan Vertonghen is ok, he's very positive," he told reporters at a press conference held before Saturday's (21 January) teatime trip to Manchester City. "We're pushing him a lot. We expect six weeks, less than at first. We don't want to set the time limit. When your mind is positive it's easier to recover."
This is the second time that Vertonghen has torn ankle ligaments in the past six months. In June, he suffered a similar injury during a training session with Belgium's national team and was subsequently ruled out of their Euro 2016 quarter-final defeat to Wales in Lille. That initial rehabilitation was also expected to take eight weeks, although the player recovered in time for the start of the new domestic season.
Reiterating that he had no plans to sign a replacement for the 29-year-old before the end of January, Pochettino added: "We have plenty of players that can perform in his place and we are very happy with the squad and the players we have."
While Vertonghen should be back sooner than anticipated, there is still no return date in sight for Erik Lamela. The Argentine winger has not featured at all for Spurs since an EFL Cup fourth-round defeat at Liverpool on 25 October due to a lingering hip injury and earlier this month he returned to former club Roma for treatment.
"Tomorrow Erik Lamela will have a scan," Pochettino said. "Still it is difficult to give the time that he can come back. We need to wait tomorrow because there is still some problems, and we are still not sure of the diagnosis. Now we start to be concerned about him because he is three months and still in a situation that has not moved on."