Football

Spurs' second string midfield was outclassed .

Mauricio Pochettino was right to rest stars in Dortmund

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Mauricio Pochettino's team selection raised more than a few eyebrows after Spurs were undone 3-0 by Borussia Dortmund.

The last 16 tie was dominated by the German side, but also by talk of whether the north Londoners had brought disaster upon themselves after resting many of their big stars.

Harry Kane was only brought on once the final scoreline had already been achieved, while Eric Dier was left at home. Kieran Trippier was also on the team sheet in place of Kyle Walker, while Ryan Mason and Tom Carroll looked lost in midfield.

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Game over

It has been suggested that Spurs could have instead taken the weekend to rest players, with Sunday’s game against Aston Villa seemingly a much easier fixture than Dortmund.

Instead, Spurs now face the embarrassing situation whereby they head into the second leg at White Hart Lane with the game all but over, and it may be a case of damage limitation as they look to avoid an even worse deficit. 

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However, Pochettino’s focus is rightly on the Premier League, and he is clearly taking nothing for granted against Villa.

Although players such as Kane did not get much of a rest, still making the trip and taking part in training, fans will thank Pochettino if they win by a decent margin and edge closer to Leicester.

Realistically, the gulf between the Premier League and the Bundesliga means it is likely that Spurs would have slipped up against Dortmund even if they had put their first team out.

Loyalty

Pochettino has also stayed loyal to those who have got Spurs so far in the Europa League, including Trippier who has played every minute of that campaign so far.

It is a tactic that has already paid off this season for Manchester City, whose second choice goalkeeper Willy Caballero led them to Capital One Cup glory in the final's penalty shootout after many had suggested he should be dropped in favour of Joe Hart. It was not to be for Spurs, but it is understandable why Pochettino had enough faith in his second string to believe they could pull off an upset. 

Thankfully, with a place in next season's Champions League looking ever more certain, Spurs do not need to win the Europa League to get into Europe, though admittedly they deserve a trophy for the inroads they have made this season. The league is now their only option if they are to achieve that, though a fortnight ago they were still eyeing an unprecedented treble. In reality, if they are to top the Premier league, they do not need the distraction of cup competitions. Being able to focus on the title has clearly aided Leicester. 

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League

No choice

Spurs' weakened side was not even entirely down to Pochettino's decision. He had no choice but to opt for Ben Davies in the wake of Danny Rose's injury, while Dele Alli was forced to sit out through suspension.

Fans will likewise have no choice but to trust their manager's judgement, and he will have to hope that it pays off as they look to renew their flagging title chances.

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Topics:
Borussia Dortmund
Mauricio Pochettino
Premier League
Europa League
Gareth Bale
Football
Tottenham Hotspur

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