Mauricio Pochettino unhappy with 'opportunistic' questions over Danny Rose's Tottenham future

JAMES OLLEY

Mauricio Pochettino has branded questions over a possible bust-up with Danny Rose as “opportunistic” amid rumours linking the defender with a January exit from Tottenham.

The 27-year-old was left out of Spurs’ matchday squad for Saturday’s north London derby defeat at Arsenal and was instead sent to train with the reserves in what Pochettino described as a move to rebuild his fitness.

Rose returned from 10 weeks out with a knee injury in mid-October and started Tottenham’s final Premier League game prior to the international break.

He also featured in both of England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil, making his omission at Emirates Stadium on fitness grounds even more of a surprise.

Speculation persists that Rose’s relationship with Pochettino has not recovered from an interview he gave in August, when claiming he was underpaid at Spurs while urging the club to sign players that “you don’t have to Google”.

It was reported once again on Saturday that Manchester United are set to make a £40million offer in the New Year.

However, in response to a series of questions about Rose and Erik Lamela, who made his first appearance in a Tottenham shirt for 13 months as the club’s Under 23 side lose 3-2 to Chelsea at Hotspur Way, Pochettino said: “If it had been 2-0 to us, you would never have asked me about Lamela and Rose.

"That is so opportunistic. It is no good. I am not happy about that. You want to try to find a situation. When it is an issue, it is an issue. When it is not an issue, it is not an issue. I am always with you – I am an honest person. It isn’t true.

(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

“You are trying to find some issue that is not an issue. We analysed the players, and some were better to play than other players and some just needed to train, much like Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, and were out of the squad.

“Let’s take a moment to explain. It is not the same if you train today and are trying to get fit – or you are trying to get full fitness so you can cope with a full 90 minutes. Rather than be on the bench, the decision was made to train on the training ground.

“Erik Lamela was playing on the same pitch to try to get fit and build up their fitness. But there is no other reason. He just needs to build and then wait for his opportunity when we believe that he can play.

“It is important to remember we played without him for 10 months – and without Lamela for more than year. The competition is so tough and to get fit and be again ready to cope with the pressure of 90 minutes is so difficult.”

When asked whether Rose would travel to Dortmund on Monday ahead of Spurs’ Champions League tie, Pochettino replied: “Yes, maybe.”

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