London Football News

Defiant Pochettino defends Aurier – and decision not to start with Ndombele

Mauricio Pochettino refused to criticise Serge Aurier after Tottenham’s defeat at Liverpool.

Spurs were beaten 2-1 at Anfield, where Aurier gave away a penalty, enabling Mohamed Salah to score the winner from the spot.

Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane slated the defender, describing him as a “car crash” and “a disaster”.

But Spurs boss Pochettino said at his post-match press conference: “I am happy with him. Of course he’s not happy. It’s normal that when you make a penalty you feel you are guilty. But it’s not like this.

“Technically, maybe it’s a penalty because there is contact.

“But, to be honest, the ball is going away. We need to accept the decision.

“It was an action that happens a lot in football. It was unlucky for us that we conceded a penalty and lose the game.”

Pochettino also stood by his decision not to start with Tanguy Ndombele, who came on as a substitute in the second half.

Responding to a suggestion that Ndombele had made a big difference after replacing Harry Winks, Pochettino said: “A big difference? Doing what? Be careful how we assess it.

“With 29 players in the squad it is so important to rotate and keep all motivated to play.

“We played on Tuesday in the Champions League and I think Harry Winks was fresh to play.

“It is normal. That is what we need – players from the bench that make an impact.

“There are decisions that as a coach or manager you need to take.”

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