Mauricio Pochettino insists he has no issue with Danny Rose despite him leaving the defender out of Tottenham’s squad for the north London derby.
Rose was not even named on the bench for the 2-0 defeat on Saturday, with boss Pochettino explaining the full-back still needs to regain fitness after nine months out through injury.
But, since making his comeback off the bench against Real Madrid last month, Rose had been in the squad for all five of Tottenham’s previous matches, twice starting and three as a substitute.
He also then started for England against Germany over the international break before coming on late against Brazil.
Rose has said all is forgotten following his comments in August suggesting he could leave Spurs and Pochettino was adamant this latest absence was for fitness reasons only, with fresh rumours of interest from Manchester United resurfacing over the weekend.
“I think you are trying to find some issue that is not an issue,” Pochettino said.
“We analysed the player and we said to the player that we believed it was better to play another player, and [Rose] needs to wait. Like different players that are out, like (Georges-Kevin) NKoudou who was out of the squad today.
“It’s not the same if you are training and trying to get fit. One thing is you can play and another thing is to be fully fit to play and to cope with 90 minutes.
“For us, rather than being on the bench today, it was the decision to make him train at the training ground, like (Erik) Lamela was playing with the under-23s, to try to get fit.
“It’s not another reason. It’s only that he needs to build, and then wait for his opportunity. We believe that he can play.”