clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pochettino quiet on team selection ahead of Fiorentina and Chelsea matches

Mauricio Pochettino is figuring out how to set up his teams against Fiorentina and Chelsea, but don't expect him to give us any hints of his intentions.

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino undoubtedly has a tactical plan for the next two matches, but he's not telling anyone about it yet. The Tottenham Hotspur manager has been grilled repeatedly by the media for any hints about how he plans to set up his teams tactically ahead of what are essentially two cup finals against Fiorentina in Italy and Chelsea in the League Cup on Sunday.

And he's not giving anything away.

"I think [Fiorentina] is our first final before Sunday as Fiorentina are only one game from going into the next round," he said to the media. "We know that we need to score as with the score being 1-1 but we are confident. We are confident to take the game on Thursday and try to get the victory."

"We need to decide on the lineup,'' he said. "We have played two tough games against Fiorentina and West Ham, so we need to decide on the best team.''

Yes, Poche is being cagey. And can you blame him? Not only is this a crucial tactical decision, but with his every statement being scrutinized by a ravenous footballing media, anything he says will be used by either Fiorentina or Chelsea as they make their own preparations to face Spurs. Jose Mourinho, in particular, is a master at football mind games and will use any information he's given. So naturally Poche's not going to give anyone any hints as to what his intentions are.

Which leads us back to rampant speculation. And truth be told, I have no idea what Poche will do. The next two games are in many ways a referendum as to how seriously Pochettino takes these two competitions. Spurs need a win, or at minimum a draw and a goal (to force a shootout), to progress in the Europa League. Spurs are going up against a Matic-free but still lethal Chelsea for their first Cup trophy in seven years. What to do?

This question is in some ways a rorschach test for Spurs fandom. Do you go full strength in both games and risk crashing against Chelsea? Do you hedge and rotate for both matches? Which is more important: Europa League progression or League Cup glory? Is there a difference?

I don't know. I'm not sure Poche does either. We'll likely find out at least in part on Thursday.