Mauricio Pochettino has finally revealed the reason why he left Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier back in London for the Champions League opener against Inter Milan.
The Spurs boss certainly raised some eyebrows with his decision not to include the defensive duo in his squad for the match at the San Siro, which was compounded when we conceded two goals in the last five minutes to condemn us to a 2-1 defeat.
When asked about the decision, Pochettino cited ‘technical reasons’ as his explanation for why neither player were included but has now elaborated on the well-publicised matter for the first time.
Pochettino was quoted by Football.London as saying: “The case you asked me before or after the game – Kieran Trippier, or Toby Alderweireld, they weren’t involved, their World Cup – after the international break this guy [points to his assistant Jesus Perez]… how many times you asked Kieran? Because he was tired, no?
“We provided more time to recover after the international break to be sure he could play in a very good way against Liverpool. We didn’t train too much because we prioritised the rest and recovery and of course when he played and it was a tough game against Liverpool, 90 minutes, to play again three days after again a big level team, again a very good player in front it wasn’t the best and the risk was massive.”
He added: “If you watch the Manchester United game – why do I say that? – because for us it’s the plan, it is not because we punish players or we are going to take risks or we are gamblers. It is about not risking injury and we provide him a very good week of training to be ready again.
“I go back to Manchester United, remember in the second half after 70 minutes the two full-backs Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier ask to leave the pitch and they were ready again to play one week after. Because they were tired.
“It is difficult to cope in a high-level game working hard. When you see all that happened it’s an easy answer. But I don’t want to explain every single press conference my decisions and say ‘no it’s like this’.
“It’s easy to find ‘oh problems, oh punishment because we lose’ – it’s different circumstances. When we assess the team we always try to find the right decision to win. Come on, it’s not talking about punishing people or because something wrong happened. But ok look that is football I accept that.”
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