Pochettino: I am not a manager who cries if a player cannot play

Date published: Monday 25th September 2017 7:50

Mauricio Pochettino insists he will not be crying over Tottenham’s long list of absentees ahead of their Champions League game against Apoel Nicosia.

Christian Eriksen made it seven players unavailable for the match in Cyprus after the Dane fell ill on Sunday and was unable even to travel with the Spurs squad.

He joins the suspended Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli in missing out, along with Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela, who are all injured.

It leaves Pochettino down to the bare bones for a match Tottenham must win if they are to maintain the momentum gained from their impressive opening victory over Borussia Dortmund.

“It’s not an excuse to have some players out of the squad,” Pochettino said.

“Christian is a very important player for us. It’s true we will miss him but we need to move on, we need to find a way to play and perform and try to win.

“He is ill, he stays in London, and we trust the player who comes into his position. I am not a manager who cries because a player cannot play.

“It’s about the team, the squad, quality, effort and we have a very strong squad to try to win.”

Pochettino could throw 19-year-old Argentinian Juan Foyth into the back three, allowing Eric Dier to partner either Moussa Sissoko or Harry Winks in central midfield.

A more attacking alternative would be to pair Fernando Llorente, who has been struggling for match fitness, up front with Harry Kane from the start.

Either way, Tottenham are expected to overcome an Apoel side that lost 3-0 against Real Madrid earlier this month and are likely to finish bottom of Group H.

Pochettino is keen to guard against complacency.

“Our supporters might expect us to win but we know very well the Champions League is very tough and this is a tough game waiting for us,” Pochettino said.

“Apoel are very tough. I watched them in their local league and against Real Madrid. They have good players.

“It is important to take the game and respect them because we need to win. It’s so important. First we need to fight and play better than them and show we deserve the three points.”

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