LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has played down talk of a rift between himself and full back Danny Rose after the England international was left out of last week’s north London derby against Arsenal.
Asked to comment on reports that Rose was “fuming” about his omission from the side at the Emirates, Pochettino said the 27-year-old, who has been linked with a move away from the club, had not been happy but had accepted the decision.
“He never showed that feeling to me,” Pochettino said. “The day before we had a conversation and he never showed me that he was angry. Of course, disappointed, yes, because all the players always want to be involved in the game.
“I understand if after he was angry, like other players who do not play, and I like it when players feel that emotion because it looks like they’re interested in helping the team and want to play.”
Pochettino, whose side responded to the Arsenal defeat in style by beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 away on Tuesday to top their Champions League group above Real Madrid, said it was not just Rose who missed out.
“He was normal, his behaviour. You can ask me about him or Nkoudou, who wasn’t involved, or Paulo Gazzaniga or Kieran Trippier or Ben Davies. If you say they were upset? Of course. They were disappointed? Of course.
“But I am the boss. That is the problem for the players.”
Rose, who recently recovered from a long-term knee injury, returned for the win in Dortmund and will be in contention for Saturday’s home clash against West Bromwich Albion when fourth-placed Tottenham will hope to recover some lost ground.
Tottenham, third and second under Pochettino in the last two seasons, are 11 points behind leaders Manchester City, but the Argentine is not giving up on his side’s title prospects.
“It’s true Manchester City have created a gap in between us that is big. But you never know in football,” he said.
“There’s still a chance. If you see the gap in the Premier League you need to reduce it, you need to win, win, win and they need to lose.”
While West Brom, who sacked manager Tony Pulis this week, have gone 10 games without a win and are just above the relegation zone, Pochettino is expecting a tough match.
“Be sure that West Brom is very aggressive, strong, physically strong. We are going to be ready to fight,” he said.
“We need to be ready after the amazing victory in Champions League against Dortmund. Now to build the momentum again is so important for us.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Edmund Blair