LONDON, Nov 20 — Mauricio Pochettino says he has no issue with England defender Danny Rose despite leaving him out of Tottenham’s squad for the north London derby at the weekend.
Rose was not even named on the bench for the 2-0 defeat against Arsenal on Saturday, with Spurs 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 during the international break before coming on as a late substitute 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.
“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.”
Pochettino has been clear that Spurs should shoot for glory in both the Champions League and Premier League this season.
However, the defeat to Arsenal leaves them 11 points adrift of Manchester City and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris believes Spurs must first ensure they finish in the top four.
“We have been the last three years in the top four,” the French international said. “We need to carry on to settle the club in this position and try to get more experience — this team is still young — and reduce the gap with the best and obviously the future for Tottenham will be great.”
Spurs will now look to come back strongly against Borussia Dortmund in Germany on Tuesday, when victory will guarantee they go through as group winners to the Champions League last 16.
“I don’t think we have to go there with the spirit that we have qualified,” Lloris said. “For us we want to bounce back. It won’t taste good to lose two games in a row.” — AFP