(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur centre back Toby Alderweireld has suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury and will be out until February, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Tuesday.
Alderweireld, who suffered the injury during the first half of Tottenham's Champions League victory over Real Madrid last month, was initially expected to return in January.
"We cannot change the reality, the reality is that he is injured and cannot play until February," Pochettino told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's home game against Brighton and Hove Albion.
"Always you are going to miss the players that are not fit but that is normal. But for me football is about the team, it is not about individual players."
Tottenham have won two out six leagues games in Alderweireld's absence and are sixth in the table, but Pochettino refused to blame the team's dip in form on his injury list.
"I think with him or without him we win and we lose," he said. "Of course the manager always wants all the players to be fit to play like (Victor) Wanyama, Danny Rose or (Erik) Lamela before.
"Some players have more influence on the team but I think we have a good enough squad and players that can play, and win or lose it is about the quality of performance if we miss one or another player."
Brighton are without a win in five games ahead of their trip to Wembley.
(Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)