Mauricio Pochettino believes it will be "difficult" for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks to play again this season due to an ankle injury. The 21-year-old was stretchered off during the first half of Saturday's (1 April) 2-0 Premier League victory over Burnley after a botched attempted tackle on Stephen Ward saw him tumble painfully off the pitch and into the home dugout at Turf Moor.
England U21 international Winks, recently mentioned in connection with a potential shock senior call-up by Spain, received oxygen and was quickly taken to hospital for scans. Updating reporters during a press conference held before a midweek clash against Swansea City, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino confirmed that he is likely to be without the academy graduate for the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign.
"We hope there is no big issue but it's true that it will be difficult for him to play again this season," Pochettino was quoted as saying by Talksport. "He twisted his ankle but we need to see what happened in his ankle on the scan."
Tottenham had already revealed that further tests were taking place to determine the full extent of Winks' injury. The 21-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at White Hart Lane, featuring almost exclusively as a substitute in the top-flight.
While Winks will definitely be sidelined for Wednesday's trip to South Wales, Pochettino faces an anxious wait regarding the fitness of Victor Wanyama. The Kenyan, who quickly became a mainstay of Tottenham's midfield following an £11m ($13.7m) summer move from Southampton, was withdrawn just a few minutes before Winks in Lancashire after trying unsuccessfully to play on after taking a knee to the back. He did not train on Monday and his availability for Swansea is currently being assessed.
Spurs also confirmed that Harry Kane is still working individually outdoors as he continues to make impressively swift progress in his recovery from ankle ligament damage suffered during last month's FA Cup quarter-final thrashing of Millwall. Danny Rose, absent since injuring his knee during a goalless draw at Sunderland on 31 January, is also said to be "continuing to progress with his rehabilitation" after visiting a specialist last week.
As planned and communicated publicly last week, Erik Lamela travelled to Barcelona over the weekend for surgery on a persistent hip injury that has kept him out of action since October. He will play no part in this season's run-in.
Spurs visit the Liberty Stadium seeking to heap further pressure on Chelsea after the runaway leaders surprisingly fell at home to relegation battlers Crystal Palace. While that result combined with success at Burnley saw the chasm between first and second place reduce to seven points, Pochettino insisted that his side remain some way off the title pace.
"We reduced the gap, but still a big gap," he said. "For us, it is to be focused. Win the next game, go step-by-step, game by game, improve our last season. We are improving in terms of numbers. To be consistent is our challenge too. We reduced it by three points, a lot of work to do. Still a big, big gap."