Pochettino’s bold call backfired in Monaco – but it could still pay off

Published by on November 23, 2016

Mauricio Pochettino is under fire from Tottenham fans after opting to field a changed side in the Champions League.

Spurs crashed out of the competition, losing 2-1 in Monaco, and are now likely to enter the Europa League depending on the result of their last game against CSKA Moscow at Wembley.

Jan Vertonghen dropped to the bench and the Lilywhites suffered as a result, Eric Dier once again struggling at centre-back despite that being his original position when he joined the club.

However, with Danny Rose suspended and Ben Davies injured for Saturday’s trip to Chelsea, Pochettino had little choice but to rest the only other player capable of playing at left-back.

His side’s unbeaten run faces its biggest test yet at Stamford Bridge, and given the form Antonio Conte’s men are in, Spurs will do well to escape even with a point.

Chelsea are priced at 8/11 with SkyBet, with Spurs at 18/5 as outsiders. The game will have an added energy to it after what happened there last season, the game in which the Blues finally denied their London rivals the title.

If Pochettino had risked Vertonghen, though, it would have been unforgivable if he’d suffered a knock. Having worked so hard to get there, Spurs surely ought to have shown more fight in the Champions League, but now they have no choice but to focus on their title bid.