Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has defended his decision to leave Danny Rose out the squad for the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday (18 November) after claiming that the England international still needs to build up his fitness.
Rose made his first appearance of the season during the Champions League 1-1 draw at Real Madrid on 17 October after recovering from a knee injury which had kept him on the sidelines since January.
The left-back has since made two further appearances for Tottenham against West Ham United (EFL Cup) and Crystal Palace (Premier League) but Pochettino decided to leave him out of the squad to face Arsenal in the first north London derby of the season.
The decision came as a surprise for some Spurs fans after Rose featured in both of England's friendlies against Germany and Brazil last week.
Rose was heavily linked with Manchester United in the summer and even had to issue an apology for asking Tottenham to sign players he did not have to "Google".
However, Pochettino said that there is no issue with the defender, saying that both him and Erik Lamela just need to build up their fitness following their respective long spells on the sidelines.
Rose instead was told to train with the youngsters while Lamela took another step towards his recovery by returning to action for Tottenham's Under-23s against Chelsea.
"He was training today. Like Lamela, after nearly one year they need to build their fitness," Pochettino said after the defeat to Arsenal, as quoted by Football.London.
"No, [it's] not strange. It's strange when a player that is fit and plays regularly is out, but when you have been out for ten or 11 months out and then you start to play, sometimes the decision is it's better to train and prepare for the next game rather than be on the bench and perhaps not play and waste time."
"It's not the same when you need to prepare for a game, with training. Sometimes they need different types of training to get fit and build their fitness. That is what happened with him. Like Lamela was playing with the U23s. What happened? We need to focus on the game today. I am so disappointed about the game. I don't understand your question, sorry."
Meanwhile, Pochettino insisted that Karry Kane and Dele Alli were fit enough to start against Arsenal even though both were replaced in the second half following surprising quiet performances.
Both England internationals missed the recent friendlies due to fitness issues but asked whether it was a risk to play them at Arsenal, Pochettino insisted: "No, after 75 minutes I think at 2-0 down, after their problems, I think it was the time to say 'out', find different options and give the team different options to play and then avoid risk in the last 15 minutes."
Pressed about Kane's fitness with the striker playing with a bandage of his knee, he added: "I think he finished well. He's good, of course tired, which is normal, like Dele, but they are ok."