Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino’s anger at questions over Toby Alderweireld’s recent omission for recent high-profile games was due to a perceived disrespect for Davinson Sanchez from journalists, according to Football London.
The Belgian centre-half has recently returned to Spurs first-team training after three months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, picked up against Real Madrid in November.
After Alderweireld has played 90 minutes against Newport County in the FA Cup on his comeback, plenty of pundits and Tottenham fans were surprised to see the commanding defender omitted for games against Arsenal and Juventus.
Pochettino was uncharacteristically tetchy with reporters after Spurs’ North London Derby victory when he was asked why the Belgian did not play.
The Tottenham boss stated at the time that he picked the team he felt would win the game, which included Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen in a back four.
Football London states that Pochettino regards Sanchez in such high regard that he did not want to rush Alderweireld back into action, and he saw the reporters’ questions as disrespectful to the Colombian.
On the face of it, the Tottenham boss has shown his tactical nous this year as the side have recorded positive results both in the Premier League and in Europe.
Had Spurs lost the Derby then the journalists’ questions over team selection may have been valid, but Sanchez put in a largely positive display in the win at Wembley.
For Tottenham to be able to rest a player as good as Alderweireld shows the strength in depth in Pochettino’s defence and Sanchez is clearly a player that will be important for years to come.
Spurs fans will respect Pochettino’s admiration for Sanchez, but also hope that the manager sees the Colombian as a long-term partner for Alderweireld – not his replacement.