Tottenham defensive pair Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier have been left out of Tuesday’s Champions League group stage opener against Inter Milan at the San Siro, coach Mauricio Pochettino confirmed on Monday.
Pochettino told a press conference he had made a “technical decision” to omit the pair, but not as a punishment after defeats to Watford and Liverpool in their last two games.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and midfielders Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko will also miss out on the European tie.
France’s World Cup-winning captain Lloris has been ruled out for several weeks with a thigh injury with Alli and Sissoko both carrying hamstring injuries.
“It’s a technical decision. You can look it up, find it in the dictionary. A technical decision,” said the Argentine coach of the decision to leave Alderweireld and Trippier at home.
“Tactical is on the pitch. Yeah maybe tactical is outside of the pitch too. But it’s technical decision, tactical decision, it’s a decision in the end.
“You cannot bring 25 players. You can only play 11 players with seven on the bench. That is the reason.”
Pochettino added: “I never punish players because you win and lose. The plan is to leave them and use different players.
“There’s nothing behind it. We believe the best decision is to play with different players.”
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)