Between a Rock and a Hard Place
The game against Rochdale highlighted the problems any manager of a successful club has in managing his squad.
We saw wholesale changes with many players at less than 100% as they came back from injury while Moura, who looked to me like a physically much stronger version of Aaron Lennon, was making his first start for the club.
We probably paid for that with the draw.
Some fans have an easy solution, just pretend players can play twice a week for most of the season and run your starting eleven into the ground. The reality is its not enough to have a strong squad (and ours is a lot stronger than it was a couple of seasons ago) you have to manage that squad so as to get the most out of it.
You are between a rock and a hard place, overplay your best players and they will eventually be running on empty, rotate and you risk losing games.
Sir Alex Ferguson once explained it as not trying to put your best eleven out every game but trying to put out an eleven that’s strong enough to win every game while giving your players enough rest so that they last the season.
To me Pochettino is still figuring out how to make the best use of the players he has. The strange thing is there are positives out of the draw. Players who needed time on the pitch got it.
Alderweireld, Winks and Wanyama are all that much closer to full match fitness. Moura got his first game under his belt and looked the real deal, Foyth showed he’s a central defender who can bring the ball out of defence in the making. The downside is we saw once again that Llorente isn’t the player we need as Kane’s back up, although I think we already knew that.
No doubt people will want to change the team for the replay, I’d play virtually the same eleven.