Mauricio Pochettino explained he had to substitute Serge Aurier during Tottenham Hotspur's 3-0 win over APOEL because he felt an urgent tactical switch was needed.
Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as Spurs made it two wins from two in their Champions League group stage campaign. The England international scored his first of the evening after 39 minutes after being slipped through by Toby Alderweireld but the Premier League side found themselves on the back foot in the opening 15 minutes of the second half as the Cypriot champions pushed for an equaliser.
Pochettino started the match with a 3-5-2 formation with Aurier taking up the right wing-back role with Kieran Trippier switched over to the opposite flank. Ben Davies was shifted inside on the left of a defensive three to fill in for the suspended Jan Vertonghen.
Aurier was caught out of position in the second half and allowed Efstathios Aloneftis to race past him and test Hugo Lloris with a stinging drive that forced an acrobatic save out of the Frenchman.
After that incident, Aurier was taken off with Fernando Llorente coming onto replace him. That change also prompted another switch in formation, with Trippier and Davies dropping into more orthodox full-back roles on the right and left respectively.
Trippier, now in his favoured role on the right, had a key role to play in Kane's next two goals, freeing Moussa Sissoko who provided the telling cutback for the second before he swung in the cross the England international headed home for the third. Kane's second came just five minutes after Aurier's departure.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Pochettino insisted he was not disappointed with Aurier's performance but felt he had to make way for his side to improve.
"I wanted to change the system," Pochettino said, football.london report. "I didn't think we were playing well in that moment. It was good to change, but not because I wasn't happy with Aurier. You change the system and you need to allow someone to go."
Aurier was hooked despite the fact he will have no role to play for his club this weekend. The former Toulouse defender was shown a red card for a second bookable offence in the 3-2 win over West Ham United last Saturday, earning him a one-match suspension which rules him out of this weekend's trip to Huddersfield Town.