Tottenham boss explains team selection and formation changes

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has played down the significance of his decision to leave a number of first-team players on the bench against Monaco.

Kyle Walker, Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen were among the substitutes for the 2-1 defeat that ended Spurs’ hopes of progressing to the knockout stage of the Champions League.

But Pochettino denied suggestions it was an indication had he had prioritised Saturday’s derby against Chelsea.

“No. For me football is about the squad,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.

“We’ve played five games in the Champions League. In the first game against Monaco at Wembley we lost and we played with a different team than when we played against Monaco away.

“We won against CSKA with a different team, we lost the game against Bayer Leverkusen with a different team – sometimes they were involved, sometimes they weren’t involved and it’s not about name,s because it’s too easy to analyse the performance or the result like this.

“To be fair, all players are important. Sometimes you need to rest some players for different reasons that sometimes we cannot explain but we failed and we all feel disappointed.

“When you fail, you fail as a squad. It’s not about one player in and one player out.”

Pochettino, whose side are fifth in the Premier League, was also asked about his recent changes of formation.

“It’s true that after Arsenal, against West Ham and Monaco we started to play again with four at the back,” he said.

“Maybe it was a different formation from the beginning but in the end the same philosophy and same principles apply.

“After Leverkusen when we lost at Wembley, we believed the team needed to try to play in a different way to try to surprise the opponent, to feel a little bit different on the pitch.”

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