Poch ready to juggle Spurs’ player power

Ross McLean
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Pochettino faces Southampton on Sunday
SPURS boss Mauricio Pochettino admits he is mindful of the need to juggle his resources when Spurs host Turkish side Besiktas tonight as he bids to avoid the post-Europa League hangover which hindered the club’s prospects last season.

Tottenham dropped 20 points from the 12 matches directly after Europa League ties during the previous campaign, a trend that included heavy defeats at home to West Ham and Liverpool.

That sequence has persisted this term with a further loss to Liverpool as well as the tame surrender to West Brom in their last match at White Hart Lane.

While Pochettino is sceptical to the idea of Europa League aftershock, the Argentine is conscious of the need to improve his side’s unflattering Europa League statistic as he prepares for Sunday’s reunion with former club Southampton.

“I think it is a coincidence, I don’t believe in this but we try to manage our squad and to change some players,” said Pochettino.

“It’s hard to play Thursday and Sunday but for that we have a strong squad and try to manage every game and to put the best players on the pitch to get results. He added: “We are happy with the way we manage our team and players and the only concern is to get the best results.”

No side managed to lay down an early marker during the opening round of Group C fixtures with Tottenham’s stalemate against Partizan Belgrade being matched by Besiktas’ draw with Greek outfit Asteras Tripoli.

Spurs head into the clash without long-term absentee Kyle Walker who remains sidelined following pelvic surgery while Danny Rose is a doubt after being substituted in Saturday’s north London derby.

While Tottenham’s league form has stuttered this season, Besiktas by contrast are flying in the Super Lig, second in the table after collecting eight points from four matches.

Former Chelsea striker Demba Ba is likely to lead the Besiktas line, while former Arsenal youngster Oguzhan Ozyakup and ex-Fulham midfielder Kerim Koyunlu could also feature for the visitors.