TOTTENHAM boss Mauricio Pochettino insists he does not regret resting a number of his star players in his side’s 3-0 thumping by Borussia Dortmund in their Europa League Round of 16 first leg clash last week.
So it’s fair to assume the Argentinian will not be changing his approach for the return leg on Thursday in a desperate bid to attempt a miracle recovery.
Therefore, it looks like Spurs have ‘conceded’ the tie in order to focus on winning their first Premier League title since the 1960-61 season.
Pochettino said after his youngsters were taught a lesson by Dortmund:
“No regrets. I’m very disappointed with the result but we didn’t have a very good day. It was a bad day in the office.
“When we analysed the squad and picked the starting XI, we tried to win the game. It started okay but it was a really bad day for us.
“It has only been in the last few games not so much. The players are very sad but we have to take the positives. We are in a very good position in the league and we will do our best.”
While it’s a shame Tottenham look to be heading out of the Europa League – a competition they could certainly have gone far deeper in had they played their full-strength squad – it’s totally understandable.
With Manchester City and Arsenal faltering and only Leicester above them in the Premier League, they will never have a better chance of ending their title drought.
In past campaigns, securing a top four spot and Champions League has been the primary target, with success in the Europa League offering a back-up route in Europe’s elite club competition.
But this season Spurs are certainties to finish in the top four – they don’t need to win the Europa League in order to achieve that.
Continuing to play in Europe on Thursday nights – and therefore Premier League games on the Sunday – would have been a big disadvantage.
Yes, advancing further in the Europa League would have been nice – and it’s been a useful competition for Pochettino to keep some of his fringe players fit and hungry – but this season Tottenham have a far bigger prize in their sights.
Spurs fans, would an exit from the Europa League this week be a blessing in disguise?
Tottenham face off with Borussia Dortmund again on Thursday in the Europa League Round of 16.