Tottenham have been handed an injury boost heading into the Christmas period, with Jose Mourinho delivering a positive update on Toby Alderweireld after seeing him forced off against Manchester City.
Alderweireld hobbled off holding his groin in the latter stages of Spurs' 2-0 home victory over City on Saturday, with summer signing Joe Rodon coming on in his place for the final few minutes.
Asked whether the Belgian's knock was a serious one, Mourinho told Sky Sports post-match: "I would say so.
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"I just feel sorry for Toby. He did a fantastic performance, he has an important injury. It's the injury of fatigue."
It was initially feared that a man who has played a key role in Tottenham's rise to the Premier League summit would be out of action until late December, leaving Mourinho short on centre-back options at a potentially pivotal stage of the season.
However, the Portuguese has now revealed that Alderweireld's recovery time will likely be quicker than originally expected, and he could return to the pitch just in time to help Spurs negotiate their way through a congested festive fixture list.
"Toby has a muscular injury but not as big as we initially thought," Mourinho told a press conference ahead of a Europa League meeting with Ludogorets on Thursday night.
"He will have his time to be out but not like a month, which was immediately what we thought. I'd say between two and four weeks."
Alderweireld will be forced to sit out Spurs' latest European clash, and will also be unavailable for selection when they make the short trip across London to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Mourinho's side are currently sitting two points clear of the Blues at the top of the Premier League standings, having recorded six wins, two draws and only one defeat from their opening nine games.
Tottenham are already being tipped to dethrone Liverpool after their bright start to the campaign, and Tim Sherwood has been among those to lavish praise on their current manager for the way he has brought the best out of a squad that had previously been lacking in confidence.
“Jose has brainwashed his players to believe they have to work to achieve something – they need to win trophies, this group of players," the ex-Spurs midfielder said earlier this week.
“And why wouldn’t you believe in him? He’s won 20 major trophies in his career and you’re winning football matches, so then you start believing that this guy is the real deal, he knows what he’s talking about, and why can’t we win the league?"