By Coral Barry
Jermaine Jenas has praised Mauricio Pochettino for resting his Tottenham superstars against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.
A goal from Pierre Aubameyang and a brace from Marco Reus condemned Spurs to a 3-0 beating in Dortmund and virtually ends their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals even before next Thursday’s second leg at White Hart Lane.
Leading goalscorer Harry Kane and midfield powerhouse Moussa Dembele watched on from the bench as Pochettino made seven changes to the side that drew with Arsenal 2-2 on Sunday in the league.
Maestro Dele Alli was suspended for the game while midfield partner Eric Dier was left in England and Jenas was adamant that the Spurs boss made the correct call with the league title still up for grabs.
“Pochettino has been brillant at that [resting players] all year long,” Jenas told BT Sport afterwards.
“Looking at games, looking at players in the games, obviously looking at them in training and then monitoring the whole situation.
“He’s obviously looked at Eric Dier and thought ‘this league situation is so important to us and you’re so important to us as an individual that you are just going to have to miss this one out’.
“If Spurs go on and win the game on Sunday against [Aston] Villa then you look at this result and think they’re still pushing for the league title, maybe it was the right decision to rest a few.”
Kane was introduced with 15 minutes left, but the Englishman could not provide Spurs with an away goal, let alone rescue the tie.
The London club’s second string players were cut open by Dortmund all night with Pochettino making a clear statement with his selections where his priorities lie.
Tottenham are just five points behind leaders Leicester in the Premier League with the prospect of their first top-tier title since 1961 still alive.
Spurs face relegation-battlers Aston Villa on Sunday with the knowledge that a victory must be won in order to maintain pace with Leicester after a draw and a loss in their last two games.