Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says he cannot pick players out of “charity” if they are no longer performing at the level he expects.
Spurs look set to sell a former mainstay of the team Victor Wanyama while Jan Vertonghen has surprisingly been omitted from the opening two games of the season, with Pochettino partnering Davinson Sanchez with Toby Alderweireld in defence.
Vertonghen’s absence from the team has been a constant point of conversation, but Pochettino says the reasoning is very simple.
“I am only going to decide to try and provide the best players that are in my head to play,” he said. “If I don’t play someone it is because I believe there is another in my opinion that is better. This is very clear.”
Speaking more generally, he added: “It is all about performance. It is all about today. Football is about today and tomorrow not yesterday.
“We are in a team… We are not a charity first of all. It is about performance and we are the coaching staff and we have a lot of options to play to play different players.
“If I play Davinson and Toby, why not play Jan? If play Davinson and Jan, why not Toby? If play (Ben) Davies, why not Danny (Rose)?
“And if I play Danny why not Davies? (Harry) Winks and not (Eric) Dier? Dier, why not Wanyama? We can stay here one hour talking about that.
“I am the coach and need to take the decision and hope it will be right.”
Wanyama was a key player at the start of Pochettino’s reign in north London but looks set to leave by the time the European transfer window shuts on September 2, with strong reports of a possible move to Club Brugge.
“I don’t know,” Pochettino said on whether he thinks Wanyama will leave. “I cannot say something that might or might not happen. Today it is all rumours.
“Victor is a very important player and for different circumstances went backwards. That is the evolution of football and things that happen naturally in all the clubs.”
Despite the “mess” caused by the European window shutting later than the Premier League, Pochettino’s side have taken four points from their opening two games ahead of Newcastle’s visit on Sunday.
TEAM NEWS:— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 23, 2019
They will have Son Heung-min available following suspension while Dele Alli is back in contention after his hamstring problem, but Pochettino will not decide on his team until after Saturday’s training session.
“I think we have one training session more and then we decide,” he added. “We’ll see if he’s involved or not.
“I think it’s only to assess tomorrow and then decide. There’s a lot of competition.
“Sonny is available again and it’s about decision and see how he is. To see if we keep him training or be involved, we’ll take the decision tomorrow.
“Like all the players, not only Dele, they need to be 100 per cent to have the possibility to play or selected. If not it’s impossible. That is the situation for everyone. It’s not only for him.”
Tanguy Ndombele will miss out with a slight thigh strain while expectations over another new signing Giovani Lo Celso should be tempered, says the boss.
“I think Lo Celso is a situation that is not going to be easy,” he said.
“He was in extended holidays after the Copa America, he didn’t have a proper pre-season and didn’t train too much, then signed for us after a week without training.
“He’s training well but is still so far away from what we expect from him.
“We need to give him time. He was involved (on Saturday) and will maybe have the possibility to help the team in some points, but we won’t expect too much from him.
“We need to not put the responsibility on him, only to improve and adapt himself with us and see. It’s a natural process to learn and improve.
“In the moment he will be fit and deserves to play then sure he will have the chance like other players.”
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