Pochettino will juggle Tottenham line-up and if it backfires ‘I accept the criticism’
Mauricio Pochettino is happy to take the blame if his Tottenham Hotspur side are knocked out of the League Cup on Wednesday night.
Newcastle United are the visitors to White Hart Lane as both sides look to make it into the semi-finals and move one step closer to a March final at Wembley.
Tottenham overcame Brighton in the last round despite making 10 changes from their previous Premier League fixture, and Pochettino had a similar rotation philosophy during his time at Southampton.
Although he would not be drawn on who would feature against Alan Pardew’s men other than to confirm Emmanuel Adebayor’s absence, Pochettino insists any team he picks will be good enough to get the job done.
“For me, it was a lack of respect for my players,” Pochettino said, when asked about being criticised for making changes.
“I always defend my players. If we have players in the squad, it is because we believe in them. If not, why are the players in the squad?
“But always when you lose, people take something to criticise you. For me, it’s a lack of respect, not for me but for the players who played in the game.
“I accept the criticism, but I can’t accept criticism for the players.”
A packed early-season schedule in the Premier League, Europa League and this competition means Pochettino would be ready to freshen up his side on Wednesday – and would face the consequences if the decision backfired.
When asked if there would be changes, he said: “Maybe. At the beginning of the season, we played a lot of games, 26 official games.
“For tomorrow, maybe one player is tired and not fresh, and if another teammate is in better condition then why not?
“But I am a manager and I need to make a decision. You cannot pick a team to guarantee that we go to the semi-final.
“In football it is easy to talk after the game. But the important thing is taking the decision before. When you are the coach, you have all the information and if you win, you are the best and if you don’t, you are [the one] who made the wrong decision. This is true.”
One player who will not be considered is Adebayor, with Pochettino insisting it is “impossible” for the 30-year-old to play a part.
Adebayor was granted compassionate leave last week as he flew to Ghana for “personal reasons” and his future at White Hart Lane remains unclear.
Pochettino said: “He was back yesterday, but play tomorrow? No.
“He began training after one week yesterday so it would be impossible for him to be ready tomorrow.”
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Published: December 17, 2014 04:00 AM