Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has this evening spoken out over his decision to leave Christian Eriksen out of his side’s starting XI to take on Newcastle.
Tottenham 0-1 Newcastle
The capital giants welcomed Steve Bruce’s men to north London a short time ago, hoping to carry on their solid start to the campaign.
Spurs followed an opening day victory over Aston Villa with a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Manchester City last time out, courtesy of smash-and-grab goals from Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
Newcastle, on the other hand, had endured a nightmare first two weeks to the season, having fallen to respective defeats at the hands of Arsenal and Norwich.
As such, Tottenham understandably headed into proceedings this evening as clear favourites to bag all 3 points.
When all was said and done, however, the visitors sprung a shock on their heavily-favoured opponents.
A solitary first-half strike from Joelinton eventually proved the difference between the sides, as Newcastle picked up a morale-boosting victory.
79.8% – Tottenham had 79.8% possession in their 0-1 defeat to Newcastle; the second-highest figure for a losing side in the Premier League since 2003-04, behind only Liverpool’s 80.4% against Burnley in August 2016. Nullified. pic.twitter.com/sCoR81zPy3
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 25, 2019
‘I can only pick 11’
A key takeaway from Spurs’ defeat, meanwhile, surrounded a crippling lack of creativity in the ranks of the north Londoners, particularly in midfield.
Mauricio Pochettino opted for a pairing of Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko in the middle of the park, with Erik Lamela pulling the strings further forward.
Despite Lucas Moura, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane having formed a dangerous-looking front-3 for the home side, though, Tottenham managed a paltry 2 attempts on target over the course of the 90 minutes.
This lack of cutting edge was vastly-improved upon just past the hour-mark, however, following the introduction of Christian Eriksen.
Like he did during the club’s opening outing of the season versus Aston Villa, the Danish international added some much-needed guile and composure to a struggling Spurs side.
As such, Mauricio Pochettino was inevitably questioned on his decision to leave Eriksen out from the off this evening, amid mounting links between the 27-year-old and Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The Tottenham boss, though, defended his team selection, explaining:
‘I can only pick 11. I understand the question. If we win 3-0 or 4-0 then these questions aren’t asked.’
Poch on not picking Eriksen in the starting XI: “I can only pick 11. I understand the question. If we win 3-0 or 4-0 then these questions aren’t asked.” https://t.co/7jrDBFzQW6
— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) August 25, 2019