Mauricio Pochettino has warned Tottenham they must kick-start their Premier League campaign with a revenge mission against Stoke on Saturday.
After a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United in their opening fixture last weekend, Pochettino’s side host Stoke looking to make amends for two of their more painful results from last season.
During a rollercoaster first season at White Hart Lane, one of the lowest points for Pochettino came in November’s home clash with Stoke.
That 2-1 home defeat was Spurs’ third loss in four league games and led to criticism of the former Southampton boss.
Stoke exposed Tottenham again in May with a comfortable 3-0 win, giving Pochettino even more motivation to triumph when the sides meet in north London on Saturday.
“It’s true the last two games that we played at White Hart Lane and the Britannia Stadium we lost, but it’s a good opportunity to take our revenge,” Pochettino said.
“It’s a different season, we’re happy with our performance — disappointed with the result — against Manchester United but I think the way we played, our performance was good.
“We need to show on Saturday that we deserved more.”
The weekend’s action kicked off on Friday when Adnan Januzaj marked his Manchester United return with a goal as Louis van Gaal’s side beat Aston Villa 1-0 to claim a second consecutive Premier League victory.
Making his first start since February, Januzaj converted a glorious pass from Juan Mata in the 29th minute as United extended an unbeaten record in league games at Villa Park that now stands at 20 years.
Premier League champions Chelsea travel to Manchester City, last season’s runners-up, on Sunday with manager Jose Mourinho on the defensive after he sidelined team doctor Eva Carneiro.
Mourinho reacted furiously to the sight of Carneiro and physio Jon Fearn running on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard during the latter stages of last weekend’s opening 2-2 draw at home to Swansea, which temporarily reduced Chelsea to nine players.
The outspoken Mourinho, who said that Carneiro and Fearn had been “impulsive and naive”, has received widespread criticism and threatened to walk out of a press conference on Friday when he was subjected to a prolonged grilling on the issue.
Chelsea will be without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, sent off against Swansea, but have a more than capable deputy in former Stoke City number one Asmir Begovic.
Both last season’s league meetings between Chelsea and their title rivals ended in 1-1 draws but City will have hope of a win after starting this campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory away to West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
– Aguero caution –
Sergio Aguero may not be in their starting side after the striker played just the final 27 minutes against the Baggies following his return from international duty with Argentina.
“Whether I start or not remains to be seen,” Aguero told City’s website.
“I’m trying to get there and be in top condition, but arriving for pre-season later having taken part in theCopa America with Argentina means I need some additional time,” added the forward, who scored 32 goals in 41 appearances for City last term.
“With the whole season in mind, what matters the most is that I get in top form and don’t take any risks.”
Southampton are to set receive a double boost on Saturday when they face Everton at St Mary’s.
Dutch manager Ronald Koeman is in line to return after missing last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Newcastle United because of Achilles tendon surgery and the Everton game could see the Saints hand a club debut to former Chelsea midfielder Oriel Romeu.
West Ham United, whose 2-0 win away to Arsenal was arguably the shock result of the first weekend, are at home to Leicester City — themselves 4-2 winners over Sunderland.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech will hope for a better second league game with the Gunners than his first, where the Chelsea great was blamed for both goals, in another London derby with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)
Southampton v Everton (1145 GMT), Sunderland v Norwich, Swansea v Newcastle, Tottenham v Stoke, Watford v West Brom, West Ham v Leicester City
Crystal Palace v Arsenal (1230 GMT), Manchester City v Chelsea (1500 GMT)
Liverpool v Bournemouth (1900 GMT)
– Agence France-Presse