Mousa Dembele gives verdict on rivals Chelsea ahead of next Tottenham match
By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Mousa Dembele has predicted that Chelsea will be ultra motivated by Monday’s Premier League clash against Tottenham.
A number of key players for the reigning champions, including Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard, have made no secret of the fact they would rather Leicester win the league than the only remaining challengers, Spurs.
Claudio Ranieri’s side will have the competition sewn up by Monday if they win at Manchester United on Sunday.
Spurs’ draw against West Brom at the start of the week means Leicester have a seven-point advantage with three matches of the campaign left.
Dembele does not believe that lessens the significance of the Stamford Bridge showdown against Tottenham’s London rivals.
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“This is a massive game,” Dembele told the Tottenham website. “A lot has been said but we just want to show what our season is all about.
“Chelsea will be lifted by this game, but so will we. It is a game that could have everything.”
Dembele admits there was a feeling of deflation in the dressing room in the wake of the failure to secure three points against West Brom.
“We all believed we could do something special,” the midfielder told the Spurs website. “Okay, it’s still something special but we wanted to go for the highest possible. Now it’s more difficult and everyone was frustrated, disappointed.
“We need to go on. We have three more games and we’ve played the season so well, why should we let up now? We have to end it properly then next season, we’ll go again.”
The Spurs midfielder has been one of the outstanding players in his position in the Premier League this season and has been hailed as a potential £40million player by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp.
But the Belgium international believes his qualities have been highlighted by the effectiveness of the team and the foundations put in place by manager Mauricio Pochettino and his staff.
He has said that he would not expect the team to suffer by the absence of a few players, as Dele Alli starts a three-match suspension.
“It’s just easier to come into the team because there is a philosophy,” Dembele said, as quoted in the Guardian. “Eric Dier is playing unbelievably and Dele [Alli], too. They are amazing players but we also have Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Tom Carroll.
“Whoever plays, there is a certain structure so the team is not collapsing because of one or two players.”
In other Tottenham news, former manager Tim Sherwood has revealed who he wanted to succeed him at White Hart Lane.