Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that rotating his squad is the reason that Serge Aurier is missing Tottenham Hotspur’s next Champions League game, in comments reported by Football London.
Spurs take on Red Star Belgrade looking to move one step closer to putting one foot in the knockout stages of the competition. A victory could see Tottenham move four points clear of the bottom two in their group.
But Aurier is not amongst the group to have travelled to Serbia. The right-back has come in for criticism this season. And he was visibly upset at the weekend after being involved in the incident that resulted in Andre Gomes sustaining a horrific injury.
Pochettino insisted Sunday’s events had nothing to do with the decision to leave him behind. And he was then asked whether form was the reason for his absence.
“No, because I think we have a big squad and everyone can play,” he said, as reported by Football London. “How I manage the squad is like always, when players play, when they don’t play it depends on the decisions from the manager. Sure that we are going to play with 11 and seven on the bench.”
It is not uncommon for Pochettino to leave first-team players behind for Champions League games away from home. Aurier himself, was one of those who did not travel to Greece for the opening clash with Olympiakos.
Aurier missing the game may not exactly disappoint Tottenham fans. He has struggled at times this year. Nevertheless, it may be a situation that still frustrates supporters.
Unless Kyle Walker-Peters plays, Pochettino is likely to move one of his centre-backs across. So it is not as if a potential long-term solution to the right-back conundrum is getting a chance to impress.