Pochettino voices spotland concerns

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

The row between Tottenham and Rochdale over the state of the League One side’s pitch escalated last night.

Mauricio Pochettino said he held talks with chairman Daniel Levy amid fears about the heavily sanded surface at the Crown Oil Arena ahead of the sides’ FA Cup fifth-round tie on February 18th

‘I think the FA need to assess how the pitch is and then to take a decision about whether it’s good for the FA Cup, good for the players, good for the teams to play on this type of pitch, in that condition that I think doesn’t help football,’:Pochettino said.

He added: “I think it’s not a pitch in a condition to play football on. I think this is about providing a safe place to play for the players. I think it’s a big risk to play on a pitch like this — if the pictures I have seen give an accurate impression.’

However Rochdale chairman Chris Dunphy hit back at the Argentine, telling ESPN: ‘If a manager wants to speak to his chairman, great. He can speak to Daniel Levy but the FA run the FA Cup and not Tottenham Hotspur.His comments are ill-advised and unhelpful. It’s not his decision. We’ve been in touch with the FA throughout. For the (fourth-round replay) win against Millwall, the referee was there from 9am and it’s the referee who decides whether to play, not a manager.’

The article goes on to say that the FA want to grant Rochdale their wish of playing next weekend’s tie at home despite the Premier League club’s concerns.

It goes on to say a protective dome was in place at the ground for four days before Rochdale’s fourth-round replay win against Millwall on Tuesday, and groundstaff even slept in the dressing rooms on Monday night, working round the clock to ensure the game went ahead.

It adds that the pitch had to be heavily sanded with the club racing to get it ready for Saturday’s League One fixture against Fleetwood Town and should Saturday’s game against Fleetwood goes ahead, it seems likely that the Crown Oil Arena will host the Tottenham tie.

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