Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has insisted that defender Danny Rose has been absent in the past two matches due to tactical reasons and injury.
Rose has been linked with a move away from Spurs in the past, having publicly spoken of his frustrations and admitted that he is looking to run down his contract at the club.
Indeed, the England international missed the FA Cup third-round replay against Middlesbrough before also not featuring in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Watford.
Mourinho, however, has maintained that Rose remains an important part of his plans going forward.
He said: “Yeah, [he’s] part of my plans. [The] last match at home [Middlesbrough], a very offensive team, I wanted also to develop young players and give another chance to [Ryan] Sessegnon to play 90 minutes.
“It’s the kind of game that Rose doesn’t need for his progression, he is already the player he is.
“And today he had a little injury in his back two days ago, and yesterday we made the decision to bring only fit players.
“We knew it was going to be physical. At the same time we knew that [Ismaila] Sarr is a runner and to control a runner – not better than another runner.
“So the decision was also to bring Sessegnon on the bench in case we needed another winger. So a bit of everything.”
Elsewhere, Mourinho said that his side played “very well” against Watford and that it would have been “unfair” for his side to lose the game.
In a frantic last 20 minutes, Hornets striker Troy Deeney had a penalty saved before substitute Ignacio Pussetto scrambled clear Erik Lamela’s effort off the line.
“Mourinho said: “We played very well. We started the game without a striker but with lots of offensive players.
“We had the control of the game, especially in the first half, we arrived in dangerous positions, we created chances but we did not manage to score.
“I am happy with how we played, our commitment. I think the result is unfair, I think it would have been more unfair if we lost.”