Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has rebuffed claims that neither Harry Kane nor Dele Alli were fit enough to feature in his starting XI during his side’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal on Saturday.
The pairing were both replaced with 15 minutes to go at the Emirates Stadium on what was an afternoon to forget for Spurs, with Son Heung-min and Fernando Llorente taking their places.
Neither England international were able to affect the game in any meaningful way, with the Lilywhites talisman failing to really ever test Gunners goalkeeper Peter Cech and the midfield creator failing to have any impact during his 75 minutes at either end of the pitch.
Both Kane and Alli were clearly not at 100%, with both missing out on Three Lions duty due to knocks in the lead up to the first north London derby of the season.
Questions have since been asked surrounding Pochettino’s decision to field two outfield players in such an intense environment with neither at the peak of their game, however the Argentine has insisted both were indeed ready for the trip to Arsenal.
“They were OK to play”, the 45-year-old told Sky Sports following the loss, as quoted by FourFourTwo.
“Of course, after 2-0 with 15 minutes to finish the game I think to take a risk is not necessary.
“We put Llorente and Son on fresh to score and we had chances. Dele Alli and Harry Kane, after 75 minutes, was enough for them.”
The defeat now leaves Arsenal just one point behind Tottenham in the Premier League, a huge body blow considering the contrasting openings to the season both sides have had.
However, Spurs have the chance to get back to winning ways on Tuesday evening when they make the trip to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, with a win all-but securing top spot progression into the knock-out rounds after confirming their last 16 spot with their 3-1 win over Real Madrid at the start of this month.