Pochettino: Only Prem clubs rest players in Europe

Date published: Thursday 1st October 2015 10:15

Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says it is only in England where European competitions are not treated as “priority”.

It has become a worrying trend that Premier League clubs play their strongest sides in domestic competition, yet rest players in Europe – an exact reverse of what European teams tend to do.

England have failed to get a team into the quarter-finals of the Champions League twice in the last three seasons and both Chelsea and Arsenal were beaten on Tuesday night, although Manchester United and Manchester City helped avert that slide with wins on Wednesday.

Pochettino, whose men take on Monaco in the Europa League on Thursday, says there is huge pressure put on clubs to play their strongest sides in the Premier League.

“We have a problem, Houston,” the Spurs head coach said to much laughter at the Stade Louis II.

“I think that it is not easy and there is a lot of opinion about why for the players the Premier League is the most important competition in the word, for the supporters the same, for the media.

“Some players play in the Europa League and Champions League and when not selected to play in the Premier League and (the media) say ‘why? It is a big, big issue’.

“I think the Premier League is a very tough competition, not only physically but mentally very tough.

“I was in France and Spain (as part of playing career), and managed in Spain too, and the Europa League and Champions League for European teams is treated like a priority so sometimes they rest players in the domestic competition.

“For England it is opposite, it is different. Maybe this is one reason, I don’t know.

“It is true we need to assess, analyse and try to know why because it is true for the future it is important to fix that because we need to compete better in Europe.”

Pochettino says Spurs consider domestic and European exertions equally important, making it all the more crucial for the north Londoners to enjoy a successful continental campaign.

This is the club’s fifth straight season in the Europa League, but a run to the quarter-finals in 2013 is the best they have been able to muster.

This campaign is still in the early stages but victory in Monaco on Thursday will boost their chances of Group J progression, having won their opening game against Qarabag.

“It is true that in the summer they lost some players like Anthony Martial, Aymen Abdennour and Layvin Kurzawa,” Pochettino said of the new-look hosts.

“Still, they are a very good team, with young players. I think that we will expect a very tough game.”

Pochettino had planned to rest Harry Kane for the game, but the foot injury suffered by Son Heung-min may force him to again use the England striker.

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