Pochettino lauds fringe players after APOEL victory
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino praised his fringe players after they ensured the club's Champions League Group H campaign finished with a flourish on Wednesday.
Pochettino made eight changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Watford in the Premier League at the weekend, but his new-look side cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win over APOEL at Wembley.
Fernando Llorente and Georges-Kevin N'Koudou both scored their first goals for the club, while Son Heung-min continued his impressive recent form with a wonderful finish.
The win means that Tottenham finish top of their group ahead of reigning champions Real Madrid with 16 points – more than any other side in this season's Champions League.
"To finish in a good way was fantastic for us," Pochettino told BT Sport. "Some players who had not played every week had the possibility to play and I am so happy for their performance.
"To finish with 16 points is a fantastic achievement in a difficult group."
A memorable group stage!
Dortmund (H): 3-1
APOEL (A): 0-3
Real Madrid (A): 1-1
Real Madrid (H): 3-1
Dortmund (A): 1-2
APOEL (H): 3-0
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 6, 2017
Danny Rose, who has spent much of the season watching from the sidelines, was substituted in the second half and appeared to be frustrated by the decision.
Pochettino, however, explained that it was a precautionary measure after the left-back had received a cut to the face.
"Players are never happy when they are going out," he added. "He had a big cut and the doctors said he needed a stitch and it was impossible to play.
"Of course, the player was frustrated because it was Champions League, but there is nothing wrong."