Pochettino on playing Jan Vertonghen at left wing-back

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Jadon Sancho was the star of the first half as Tottenham hosted German League leaders Borussia Dortmund at Wembley last night.

However, come the final whistle, Jan Vertonghen was the name on everyone’s lips after he put in a man of the match performance to win Spurs the game.

Mauricio Pochettino had been left without Danny Rose or Ben Davies available to start the game, and therefore lumped for Vertonghen at left-wing back, an unfamiliar position for him.

Jan has played left back before for Belgium, but usually in a flat back four, but boy did he take to it well.

Vertonghen swung in a beauty of a cross for Sonny’s second half opener, before doubling the lead with his own sensational volley.

Fernando Llorente then added a third from a corner, but all eyes remained on Jan Vertonghen, the unlikely star of the show.

Pochettino was asked in his post match press conference whether Vertonghen surprised him, as his inclusion at left wing back surprised many others.

Poch said (Football London): “The problem is, I accept all opinions in football and to be coach or referee is, football is a sport where all people can give opinions and everyone is right. We need to assess and take decisions – that’s my job. Not only prepare the strategy but select the 11. I cannot select 22 players to play in each game. Of course I cannot disagree with you.

“Everyone can have their opinion, but in the end, only we know and can measure the players’ level and momentum, form and what we want to do in every single game. Plus our feelings, our intuition and our knowledge, only the coaching staff in any club have all the information to take the best decisions.
That’s why when people ask me about football, I can only when I watch the game give my opinion during 90 minutes.

“But opinion is different. In football you need all the information on what goes on at the training ground and when we assess the players and afterwards take every single decision to try to win. Every single manager wants to win, but I accept all opinions, I don’t agree or take in the wrong way. Today, 3-0 and maybe everyone says ‘oh fantastic decision’ or maybe if it’s a different result I’m the worst coach in the world. The balance is the most important thing. If you win you’re not a genius, if you lose it’s not a disaster. You just need to take the right decision the next time because football is about winning.”

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