Heung-Min Son has admitted he is sad to be leaving Tottenham’s trophy chase to play at the Asian Cup.
The South Korea forward has been in stellar form this term and scored his eighth goal in nine games as Spurs reclaimed second spot in the Premier League with a 3-0 win at Cardiff.
But he will be on international duty after Spurs’ league game against Manchester United on January 13, and could miss up to five matches because of the tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking after the Cardiff win, Son said he was disappointed to be leaving Spurs again having already missed their opening four fixtures due to the Asian Games.
He said: “Of course I feel very sorry because I miss already in September. I feel sorry for my team-mates, the fans and the coaching staff. It’s difficult. Sometimes you think it’s a bit sad, but it is also important for my country.
“I hope I can keep my form for the national team and when I come back here again as well.”
If South Korea make the final on February 1 Son will miss five matches for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
This would include league games against Fulham, Watford and Newcastle, as well as the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie with Chelsea.
Son was sluggish after he helped South Korea win the Asian Games – a triumph that spared him from completing his national service – and the worry for the north London side is that the same could happen again.
It was only after Son had a break from international duty in November that he found the form which has seen him become one of the hottest properties in the Premier League.
“I was tired after the Asian Games because in that tournament it was playing after (every) two or three days,” Son said.
“It is very important to be right mentally at the Asian Cup and to come back with a strong mind and be strong physically. It was a turning point for me because I was tired and I didn’t travel.
“It was good to have this time, some days off, and hard sessions with the team. But the Asian Cup is big for us because we have not won it for 59 years.
“I’m going there not just to enjoy it, I am going there to win something and come back with confidence.”
Tottenham’s victory on Tuesday meant they completed the double over Cardiff after their 1-0 victory at Wembley in October.
The Bluebirds are battling relegation and boss Neil Warnock feels Spurs should be forced to play at Wembley for the rest of the season not to give their rivals an advantage.
Spurs were due to move into their new White Hart Lane stadium in September, but the project has suffered construction delays.
“The league should enforce they play at Wembley for the rest of the season,” Warnock said.
“There shouldn’t be any chance of an advantage for our opponents. It’s not our fault – we should have been playing at the new stadium ourselves.
“I think they should step in now and rather than seven or six weeks, they should make it until the end of the season now and enforce it now.”
Meanwhile, Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness labelled Spurs playmaker Christian Eriksen “a very special player” after his brilliant display against Cardiff.
He said: “I think Eriksen is a technician, he doesn’t get involved in the hurly burly, when he’s got an awareness, he gets the ball and knows what he’s going to do long before he’s even touched it.
“He has a picture that few people have, he’s a very very special player. On his day he such a fantastic player to watch. Sometime you want to pay just to watch, not all the time, but most of the time, you feel like that.”
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