Pochettino: Only English clubs rest players in Europe

Date published: Thursday 1st October 2015 9:40

Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham boss taking Europa League seriously

Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham boss taking Europa League seriously

Mauricio Pochettino says England is unique in that its clubs play their strongest sides in the Premier League yet rest players in Europe.

There has been a worrying trend of English clubs struggling in European competition in recent years – and this season appears to be no different.

West Ham and Southampton have already exited the Europa League, while Arsenal and Chelsea fell to shock defeats in their Champions League matches on Tuesday, although Manchester United and Manchester City helped avert that slide with wins on Wednesday.

Pochettino will hope the resurgence continues when Tottenham take on Monaco in the Europa League on Thursday, but the Argentine believes the pressure put on clubs to play their strongest sides in the Premier League is a contributory factor.

“We have a problem, Houston,” the Spurs head coach said to much laughter at the Stade Louis II.

“I think that it is not easy and there is a lot of opinion about why for the players the Premier League is the most important competition in the word, for the supporters the same, for the media.

“Some players play in the Europa League and Champions League and when not selected to play in the Premier League and (the media) say ‘why? It is a big, big issue’.

“I think the Premier League is a very tough competition, not only physically but mentally very tough.

“I was in France and Spain (as part of playing career), and managed in Spain too, and the Europa League and Champions League for European teams is treated like a priority so sometimes they rest players in the domestic competition.

“For England it is opposite, it is different. Maybe this is one reason, I don’t know.

“It is true we need to assess, analyse and try to know why because it is true for the future it is important to fix that because we need to compete better in Europe.”

Pochettino says Spurs consider domestic and European exertions equally important, making it all the more crucial for the north Londoners to enjoy a successful continental campaign.

This is the club’s fifth straight season in the Europa League, but a run to the quarter-finals in 2013 is the best they have been able to muster.

This campaign is still in the early stages but victory in Monaco on Thursday will boost their chances of Group J progression, having won their opening game against Qarabag.

“It is true that in the summer they lost some players like Anthony Martial, Aymen Abdennour and Layvin Kurzawa,” Pochettino said of the new-look hosts.

“Still, they are a very good team, with young players. I think that we will expect a very tough game.”

Pochettino had planned to rest Harry Kane for the game, but the foot injury suffered by Son Heung-min may force him to again use the England striker.

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