Mauricio Pochettino has ruled Tottenham striker Harry Kane out of playing any part in their Champions League semi-final against Ajax.
Spurs take on the Eredivisie leaders at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday, with Erik ten Hag’s side having already dispatched of Real Madrid and Juventus during the knockout stages.
Kane suffered an ankle injury during the second half of Tottenham’s ultimately decisive 1-0 first-leg win over Manchester City in the quarter-finals – Pochettino’s men eventually progressing on away goals after a thrilling return at the Etihad Stadium finished 4-3 to the hosts.
The Spurs boss has spoken in encouraging terms about Kane returning ahead of schedule from his latest setback and featuring should the north London club reach next month’s final in Madrid.
However, after Lucas Moura seemed to suggest the England captain might be fit to take part in Amsterdam next week, Pochettino shot down such suggestions at a pre-match news conference.
“Lucas didn’t say that [Kane being back],” he said.
“Kane is doing well. He’s working. He started to run a little bit. His rehab is so good, but we cannot create any idea of [when he is back].
“It is important he is in a good place. He’s so focused. We will see what happens. We are assessing him every day and we are happy.
“Second leg? No chance!”
Spurs will also be without Son Heung-min, who scored three of their four quarter-final goals, through suspension.
It means plenty of the goalscoring onus will fall upon Lucas, who impressed in Kane’s absence in Manchester.
“Son is a very, very good player and very important for us,” said the former PSG forward.
“Of course we will miss him but we have other players who can do a job. We have a very good squad and we arrive to play our best.
“If we have him in the second leg… and I hope Harry Kane can recover quickly. Other players will have the opportunity to show what they can do.”
Despite operating with a depleted forward line that has forced him to bring Vincent Janssen in from the cold over the past week, Pochettino baulked over the notion of playing for a 0-0 draw.
“No, why would 0-0 be a good result?” he added.
“After the game I will tell you. Before playing, always in our mind it is to be better than them – to play well and perform in the way we prepare and try to win.
“And then the circumstance of the game is going to say. If they are better than us and it’s 0-0 then maybe I am happy. Today I am so optimistic. Like them, we are thinking we can win.”