Spurs fell short at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but Mauricio Pochettino took the heat off the starting XI by laying into one player who didn’t even feature.
Moussa Sissoko was left out of the squad altogether, perhaps unsurprisingly after he contradicted the manager in midweek – Pochettino blamed a lack of squad depth for the Lilywhites’ Champions League exit, an obvious dig at his summer signings, but Sissoko instead blamed the decision to play their home games at Wembley.
That incident summed up the France international’s situation at White Hart Lane, and Pochettino has now questioned his attitude when explaining why he wasn’t even worthy of a place on the bench against Chelsea.
“Football is not about money,” said Pochettino, as per BBC Sport.
“You need to show on the training ground you are better than another team-mate and you deserve to be involved.”
“If you sign a player and you expect something and you do not find what you expect and if another deserves to be involved, like (Georges-Kevin) Nkoudou or (Vincent) Janssen – why? Because we paid money we need to put the player to play?”
Given the bit-part role he has played this season, it’s easy to forget that the midfielder is Spurs’ joint-record signing, having arrived from Newcastle on Deadline Day in a £30million five-year deal.
This isn’t a question of hindsight, as the move raised eyebrows in the first place. Everton may well be relieved that the former Magpies maverick opted for North London instead of Merseyside, as he is yet to prove he’s worth anything like £30million.
His most notable action so far was getting suspended for three games after elbowing Bournemouth’s Harry Arter.
It looks like Pochettino will need some convincing if he’s to be given another chance.