Mauricio Pochettino defends Tottenham team selection after Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld are left out of FA Cup defeat

Jack Rosser
REUTERS

Mauricio Pochettino defended his decision to select back-up goalkeeper Michel Vorm over captain Hugo Lloris in Tottenham’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United.

Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera, the latter of which Vorm has come under criticism for having failed to stop a rather central effort, saw United come from behind to defeat Spurs, who had lead after just 11 minutes through Dele Alli’s opener.

Pochettino, however, refused to blame the result on any one individual.

“Look, I repeat after four years for me it’s not about the names or who is going to play,” the Argentine said. “It’s about the team.”

“Last season we play the semi-final and we lost 4-2 to Chelsea with Hugo, or the final of the League Cup and we lost 2-0 [in 2015].

“Today we lost 2-1 to Manchester United and we should have won.

“For me it is about the team. Michel Vorm today deserved to play and I am so happy because I thought he was good.

“It is not about one player or 11 players or playing a different 11 players. I think it's not like this. I am happy with the performance and the effort, it was an even game, in my head a little bit more for us.

“We were close but not enough to win.”

But Lloris's absence was not the only omission to raise eyebrows.

While it was expected that Toby Alderweireld would be named on the bench, with the defender set to leave the club this summer, Spurs felt the absence of one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

Allowing 5ft 5” Sanchez to rise and head-home Paul Pogba’s cross gwent against every hallmark of what has been impressive about this Tottenham side over the past few years. What difference would Alderweireld, another world class defender, have made in that situation? We’ll never know.

​Pochettino’s stance against a player who seems halfway out the door seems admirable, but to decide against using one of the club’s best assets in such a big game appears short-sighted.

That said, he has no regrets.

“No, no, no, no regrets. I think we competed, we dominated the first half completely,” Pochettino added. “I think it was completely unfair to be 1-1 in the first half. But of course in the second half they scored and the game was more competitive and even.

“Then of course when you compete with this type of club, like Manchester United, it's always 50-50 and today the victory was for them.”

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