Mauricio Pochettino believes Kieran Trippier’s groin problem may be chronic after the defender limped off during Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Southampton Wednesday night.
Trippier returned to the line-up for the first time since suffering the injury, which was a recurrence of a groin problem he first experienced at the World Cup.
A number of Spurs players have sustained muscles injuries since returning from Russia, and Trippier seems to be the most affected of those who have been sidelined.
It looks as if the right-back may now have to spend more time on the treatment table, and Pochettino is worried the issue may be persistent.
“I think it’s the same problem – the same problem that started in the World Cup,” Pochettino said after Wednesday’s win (via ESPN).
“If you remember the semifinal against Croatia, when he left the pitch, I think to play after three days against Belgium, I think maybe it affected [him] a little bit. Now he’s suffering in that situation.
“In situations like today when the pitch is not in a good condition, this area – the groin – suffers more when the pitch is different.
“It’s a thing that we need to care a lot for him, protect him. He needs to work a lot to protect and sort that problem. It will be a long period for him suffering this type of problem.
“When I was in Argentina as a 19-year-old I suffered and it is an area that is difficult to sort out. But I don’t believe it’s a big thing. It’s only he needs to start to accept that situation and live with sometimes some pain, and play.”
Tottenham eased past Southampton thanks to goals from Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son before Charlie Austin pulled one back in stoppage time, despite appearing to be in an offside position.
Pochettino’s men travel to Leicester City on Saturday night before a huge trip to Barcelona in the Champions League next week.
Serge Aurier may be forced to play in both matches if Trippier is ruled out. Pochettino could also turn to Kyle Walker-Peters if necessary.