Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino defends his star exclusions

In air: Mauricio Pochettino is unsure of some stars’ futures
In air: Mauricio Pochettino is unsure of some stars’ futures

By Jonathan Veal

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insists his team selection against Newcastle is only coming under scrutiny because his side lost.

Pochettino named Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen on the bench as the future of both remains shrouded in uncertainty ahead of the European transfer window closing next week.

Eriksen came off the bench, but could not affect things in a horrible 1-0 defeat that saw Spurs struggle to create chances against a resolute Magpies, while Vertonghen is still waiting for his first appearance of the season.

The exclusion of both continues to be a talking point given their contribution during Pochettino's reign, but the boss says it would not be a topic had Spurs won.

He said: "I cannot pick more than 11 players. It's a decision when you have plenty of players, but I understand the question.

"Should the result be 3-0 or 4-0, you're not going to ask me that question but of course I accept it. The players who are out are always good when you don't win."

The Argentinian says the situation, which he has called a mess, isn't a factor on match day.

"The problem is during the week, when you arrive at the competition maybe it can affect things, but I think we should, with a bit more, be winning," he added of the Toon loss.

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