Vardy absence to have 'big impact' on title race - Spurs boss Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino says suspended striker Jamie Vardy will prove a big miss for Premier League title rivals Leicester City.
Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino believes Jamie Vardy's suspension will have a 'big impact' on Leicester's challenge for the Premier League title.
England striker Vardy has accepted an improper conduct charge for confronting referee Jon Moss after he was sent off during Leicester's 2-2 draw at home to West Ham last weekend.
Vardy's prolific form this season - he has scored 22 goals in the campaign thus far - has been a key factor in Leicester's rise to the top of the Premier League table, where they lead Spurs by five points with four games left.
But he is now definitely suspended from Leicester's match against Swansea on Sunday and could now miss next week's game against Manchester United as well.
Pochettino's men thrashed Stoke City 4-0 in midweek to maintain the pressure and the Argentinian coach believes Vardy's suspension could tip the balance further in favour of his north London side.
"I think that it's a big impact for Leicester because Vardy is one of the best players in the Premier League. Sure, it's a big impact for them," Pochettino said Friday.
"I think Leicester have very good players and are in a position that they deserve to be, this is important, nobody gave nothing for nothing.
"But he's one of the best strikers in the Premier League. I am sure they will feel that but they have different players that can play the same way.
"We are in the race for the title and I, like our supporters, hope Leicester will drop points in the next game so we can erase the gap."
Tottenham's Harry Kane is one of the nominees for the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year award, with Spurs team-mate Dele Alli in contention for the Young Player award.
But the Tottenham duo will miss Sunday's awards ceremony in London as Pochettino believes it is too close to Monday's game against West Bromwich Albion.
"The players will be at home but this is normal, I think people will understand," Pochettino said.
"It's a shame because we play on Monday. It's true the players would like to go but I think the responsibility when you have a big game on Monday is to stay at home, rest and be focused on the game."
Kane has scored 24 league goals this season, the most in the division so far, and has become the first English player to score at least 20 goals in two successive seasons since Alan Shearer in 2007.
Suggestions that Kane may have been something of a 'one-season wonder' emerged when the 22-year-old managed just a lone goal in his opening nine league games this term.
Pochettino said: "The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and for some periods, when you have a player like Harry Kane, people need to speak and they can doubt whether he can repeat the same season.
"But Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world and he has proved that it wasn't only one season. We are now in the second season and he's showed his real quality.
"For us, we never had any doubts about him. From day one we knew that he would achieve everything because of his mentality, his passion and hunger are fantastic."