Pochettino to hand Spurs youngsters Champions League chance
(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino will rotate his starting lineup and put faith in youth when they host APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League on Wednesday.Soccer Football - Champions League - Tottenham Hotspur Press Conference - Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre, London, Britain - December 5, 2017 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Pochettino will rest key players ahead of a busy fixture schedule after Spurs, who have qualified for the last 16, failed to win any of their last four Premier League matches.
But midfielder Dele Alli, who missed the first three group matches due to suspension, will start and academy graduates Luke Amos and Kazaiah Sterling have been included in the squad.
“We are going to rest some players, but Dele is going to play. He needs to play,” Pochettino told a news conference on Tuesday.
”Kazaiah and Luke Amos, they are working very well and they behave so good. That is why they deserve it, they have the quality as well in the position that we are looking to try to help the team tomorrow.
“We needed a midfielder, like Luke Amos, and another striker, like Kazaiah Sterling.”
Spurs have sealed top spot in Group H, beating Real Madrid at Wembley and taking six points against Borussia Dortmund.
However, Pochettino believes his players may have taken their eyes off the ball in the Premier League.
Following a 1-1 draw at Watford sixth-placed Spurs dropped 18 points behind leaders Manchester City.
“It’s possible that we had too much confidence. Maybe, in that moment after the Real Madrid game, something happened and changed in our mind,” Pochettino added.
“Maybe, after playing at such a high level and high tempo under massive pressure, the team needs time to breathe, and to build momentum again because that situation was new for everyone, and we need to build our confidence and trust again.”
Spurs host Stoke City on Saturday and Brighton and Hove Albion four days later.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond