Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has revealed his intention to rotate his squad for Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against League Two Newport County to ensure his players are fresh for the weekend’s north London derby.
Following quickly on the heels of their Saturday lunchtime tussle with Arsenal, Spurs travel to Turin to face Juventus in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie on Tuesday – their fourth game in 10 days.
Centre-half Toby Alderweireld is expected to play for the first time since early November following a hamstring injury, while defender Danny Rose and midfielder Harry Winks are set to feature. The likes of Victor Wanyama, Erik Lamela, Fernando Llorente, Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth are also in contention.
“None of the players will knock on the door and say, ‘gaffer, I’m tired’. That’s never happened in real life. They’re always ready to compete and play if you ask them,” said Pochettino.
“But it’s up to us to discover the truth. That’s why the squad is so important in England. Over four competitions during the season, you need to rotate and give rest and provide the squad the possibilities to play.
“We’ll play Wednesday now and then Saturday morning. It’s so difficult for some players to be ready again to compete. You need to manage. The people and the fans need to trust in our decision. The manager and the staff always take the best decisions to win.”
Tottenham have been accused to requiring a trophy to truly validate Pochettino’s reign, although the Argentinian insists he is not fixated on titles. Asked if he needed to win silverware this season, he added: “No. I don’t feel that.
“I’m not obsessing: win, win, win. We want to win but to arrive to win we need to create a winning mentality around the players, around the team. Tottenham in the next few years will be one of the contenders to win trophies.”