Mauricio Pochettino Hits Out at Players’ Critics After Inter Milan Meltdown

Mauricio Pochettino Hits Out at Players’ Critics After Inter Milan Meltdown
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 18:  Mauricio Pochettino head coach of Tottenham Hotspur gestures during the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between FC Internazionale and Tottenham Hotspur at San Siro Stadium on September 18, 2018 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino went on a passionate rant after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss against Inter Milan, defending his team selection and telling critics to blame him for the loss, rather than the players on the pitch.

The tactician didn’t bring Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier on the trip to the Italian fashion capital, and criticism was always likely after the side gave away the win inside the final 10 minutes. Per Darren Lewis of the Mirror, he shifted the blame toward himself and not the replacements:

“Why disrespect the players that aren’t on the pitch? You can blame me and say ‘gaffer, you were so so rubbish in your selection of the starting XI.

“But please don’t disrespect the players who were playing, because it’s my decision. Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, we have 25 players. And you ask me with your question, that you can play only 11 and the other 13 or 14 players are rubbish? are s***?”

He continued:

“Against Watford and against Liverpool, [Alderweireld and Trippier] were on the pitch. They are easy targets. It’s easy to talk about the players that aren’t here like Hugo or Dele Alli or Sissoko.

“It’s so easy, it’s so easy. I don’t know. Sorry, but I am so disappointed because I am a person that respects you a lot and the players.

“When my decision is to play with an eleven, you must respect my decision because I am the manager. You cannot disrespect.

“Please. To be a player is so difficult, and of course for me it is easier on the touchline. I don’t run. It is so painful to hear when some people are not here, and you judge in that way and you kill players who give their best. It’s so unfair.”

Sky Sports Football shared footage of the rant:

Spurs were the better side for large stretches of the match on Tuesday and took the lead through a deflected effort from Christian Eriksen. Their bid to win fell apart late, however, as Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino completed a comeback in the final minutes.

It marked Spurs’ third straight loss after previously falling to Watford and Liverpool. The Sky Sports Premier League panel tried to figure out what has gone wrong:

But while many looked at the 11 players who started the contest, others were keen to know about Alderweireld and Trippier. Per Jonathan Liew of the Independent, Pochettino didn’t take kindly to those questions and disagreed with reporters’ assessment of the match:

Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier replaced Alderweireld and Trippier in the starting XI and held their own against Inter’s attack. The former contained Icardi for much of the match and was powerless to do anything about his masterful volley. The latter fared much better than Trippier did against Liverpool during the weekend.

Alderweireld was one of the team’s most talked-about players during the summer, as his contract situation invited questions about his future. He recently denied persistent reports a move to Manchester United was close, per

The Belgian lost his spot in the team last season but has started four out of five Premier League fixtures in the current campaign. According to Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws(h/t Sport Witness’ Naveen Ullal) the decision not to bring him to Milan was made in part because he recently became a father and didn’t spend all that much time in training.


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