Son Heung-min has suffered a likely season-ending arm injury, leaving Jose Mourinho to admit "the situation couldn't be worse" in terms of Tottenham's attacking options.
Spurs confirmed Son fractured his arm in the 3-2 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday and said the South Korea international, who scored twice in that game, including a stoppage-time winner, would be out "for a number of weeks".
Mourinho later expanded on that timeframe, revealing he did not expect the 27-year-old to be available again this term.
"I don't [count on him playing again this season]," the Portuguese told reporters prior to the first leg of Spurs' Champions League last-16 clash with RB Leipzig.
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"If he plays one game or two games, it's because [Tottenham's press officer] is very optimistic and because I hope he's right. I hope he's right.
"But in my mind, no. In my mind I'm not thinking about that."
Son's absence further depletes Mourinho's attacking options ahead of crucial fixtures against Leipzig and Chelsea, one of its rivals for a top-four spot in the Premier League.
Harry Kane underwent surgery on a torn hamstring injury suffered at Southampton on New Year's Day and faces a battle to return before the end of the campaign himself.
"The situation couldn't be worse in terms of options," added Mourinho, who may be forced to utilise Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn or Dele Alli as an unorthodox spearhead for his attack.
"It's a very, very obvious situation. There is nothing that you can do.
"We are going to play with the players that we have available. The players are going to give absolutely everything, which is what they are doing.
"In some periods I was worried about not having attacking options on the bench, now I don't have attacking options on the pitch."
Spurs does have 18-year-old striker Troy Parrott in its ranks, but Mourinho stressed the teenager "is not ready", while adding he does not consider Ryan Sessegnon as a possible candidate for that role either.
The situation led Mourinho, who replaced Mauricio Pochettino in November, to use a bizarre analogy to explain the club's predicament.
"When we arrived, we were in the minus 12 floor, we got the stairs and we started climbing," he said.
"But immediately in the beginning the stairs broke so we were in trouble. We were trying to find a way. We found a way, we start climbing, lots of work, lots of effort and we start going and going.
"Then 11th floor and when we are arriving on the fourth floor, which is where we wanted to arrive, someone came and took the stairs away so we are now in trouble. Now we are with our arms on the balcony on the fourth floor.
“Now we have two options. One, is to give up and fall and normally die because it's the fourth floor. Another way is to fight with what we have. No stairs but arms. So we are going to be on that balcony fighting with everything that we have."
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