Mauricio Pochettino admits Tottenham have missed the strength of Victor Wanyama in midfield this season.
Wanyama has been sidelined for more than four months after aggravating a knee injury at the start of the campaign.
However, the tough-tackling Kenyan is now close to returning to full fitness and Pochettino believes Wanyama could play a part in Tottenham’s busy fixture list over the festive period.
“We need to see how he reacts, his knee,” said Pochettino, who confirmed that Saturday’s trip to Burnley had come too soon for Wanyama to make his return.
“But it’s a very good feeling from him. We will see when he can be involved again. Last season, he was such an important player for us.
“And this season, it’s true. In a position that you need to be strong, we have missed a player like him.
“It will be fantastic if, as soon as possible, he can be again involved and available to be selected because he is a very good player; a very important player for us.”
Wanyama missed just two Premier League games for Tottenham last season as Pochettino’s side finished runners-up to Chelsea in the table.
However, the Kenyan has managed less than 100 minutes for Spurs this season after aggravating a knee injury he originally suffered during the summer break.
“During pre-season, on the same day, he had two incidents,” said Spurs assistant manager Jesus Perez. “And he carried on training.
“Then, we went to America and he played some minutes against PSG (in a friendly) and then we protected him until the second game of the season against Chelsea.
“And he had a bad reaction from that game. We tried all the conservative measures to avoid anything major (such as an operation) and, so far, it has worked well.
“And he has reacted very well to the last couple of training sessions.”