LONDON – Mauricio Pochettino will consider disregarding next season’s FA Cup by fielding Tottenham’s kids in the competition.
Spurs suffered Wembley heartache on Saturday, losing to Manchester United in the semi-final as the London club's decade-long wait for a trophy continues.
Despite Pochettino’s insistence that securing a place in the top four is more important than winning the FA Cup, the defeat by Jose Mourinho’s side amplifies doubts over his side’s ability to get over the line in big games.
And the Argentine says he may field Tottenham’s promising academy stars in next year’s FA Cup to avoid what he feels is unjustified criticism over his club’s failure to win trophies.
“I am thinking with Tottenham to play with kids the next time because it’s so unfair when you lose but that is my job to be criticised when we don’t win,” Pochettino said.
“The problem is the perception sometimes is not realistic. But maybe yes, next we will provide the possibility to play with kids and I’m sure it will be fantastic for experience and everything.
“Then we stop to arrive in this situation (of being questioned about not winning trophies).”
Pochettino now faces the task of lifting his players for the final four league games of the season.
Tottenham have a five-point cushion over fifth-placed Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification.
However, anything but victory against Watford next Monday night could leave the door open for Antonio Conte’s side to steal that all-important fourth spot.
“Football can surprise you, but it’s in our hands,” Pochettino added. “We need to win the next four games and we need to be ready to compete."
"If you ask today, the players are disappointed. They are down. But tomorrow, move on.”