EPL

Pochettino defends Tottenham's decision not to sign a right-back

By Sports Desk October 04, 2019

Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham were right not to replace Kieran Trippier for this season despite preparing to line up with Moussa Sissoko at right-back.

Spurs allowed England international Trippier to leave for Atletico Madrid but opted not to bring in a new signing on the right side of defence.

Pochettino suggests he preferred to trust Serge Aurier, Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth, who has previously played centre-back and was injured in pre-season.

Aurier has been lining up in that role in recent weeks but was sent off against Southampton last week and endured a torrid time as Tottenham were beaten 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Pochettino explained: "Football is about circumstance and performance and form of the player.

"You have Kyle Walker-Peters, Serge Aurier, different players that you can use like Juan Foyth, who played there in the Copa America but got injured in pre-season.

"You need to see the squad and we have 11 players in the defensive line. I can tell you them.

"Aurier, Walker-Peters, Toby [Alderweireld], Davinson Sanchez, Foyth, Eric Dier, Ben Davies, Ryan Sessegnon, Japhet Tanganga, Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen. My answer is clear?"

Despite these options, it appears central midfielder Sissoko will start in defence at Brighton and Hove Albion, having replaced Aurier following his red card last time out in the Premier League.

"[Sissoko] played there against Southampton," Pochettino said. "When you assess the squad and options, it is clear that you will use the last feeling [you had].

"The last feeling is that Moussa Sissoko played one hour and he was the best playing there.

"If you watch the game against [Sofiane] Boufal and [Nathan] Redmond, he was unbelievable. The effort and how we used him.

"Serge is banned and, for different reasons, the form of other players maybe doesn't convince you and, of course, you use the feeling from last week. That is why I consider to play him there."

Pressure is building on Pochettino following the humbling home defeat to Bayern, yet he insists he has recovered from similar setbacks in his football career.

"I don't remember if I ever conceded seven before, but I lost 6-0, yes," he said. "I remember it was in January 1990, when Marcelo Bielsa was in charge of Newell's Old Boys. It was his second game.

"We were playing in the Copa Libertadores against San Lorenzo and the score was 6-0 – at home. Yes, it was really, really painful. It was similar to Bayern Munich.

"But that season we finished by winning the Premier League in Argentina. In six months, we completely changed the perception and sometimes these situations make you stronger."

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