Mauricio Pochettino has apologised to Rochdale for suggesting their pitch would compromise the safety of his players.
An article in the London Evening Standard describes how the League One club have relaid their playing surface after the previous version – heavily sanded following poor weather – was deemed unfit to stage Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Pochettino’s Tottenham side.
They are confident the new pitch at Spotland will hold up well and Pochettino has said he regrets giving the impression that his players were unwilling to play there.
“I want to apologise if anyone at Rochdale, such as the chairman (Chris Dunphy) took it in the wrong way,” :said Pochettino. “My idea was to care for the players of Rochdale.
He added: “After we beat Newport in the fourth-round replay, their manager Michael Flynn showed me a picture of the pitch and it wasn’t great.I wanted to ensure their players and my players would be safe, but I was always very respectful.
He went on to say: “But now I have seen pictures and videos of the new pitch on the Rochdale website and I need to congratulate them. The effort was massive, to put in a new pitch so we can play without risk. I was always confident and trusted them that they would be able to fix the problem.”
It concludes by saying a local referee is on standby to inspect the pitch if the weather overnight is poor, but both Rochdale and the FA are confident the game will go ahead as scheduled.
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