MAURICIO POCHETTINO is entitled to feel disappointed with Tottenham fans who booed his decision to replace Lucas Moura on Tuesday.
Jeering his decision to replace Lucas with Erik Lamela after 62 minutes, when Tottenham were trying to find a way back into the Champions League tie with PSV Eindhoven, is a dangerous road to go down.
Poch has redefined Spurs, even if results and performances have dipped a little this season.
The delay to the opening of the new stadium at White Hart Lane, along with the failure to bring in any new players over the summer, are certainly mitigating factors.
Even so, for Spurs fans to question Pochettino’s judgement and decision-making over an attacking substitution felt odd.
It was a positive move, a change designed to bring another creative element to the team after a frustrating hour at Wembley.
Poch’s record at Spurs is good, with the majority of supporters still onside, after establishing them as one of English football’s most powerful clubs.
They went on to beat PSV, with Harry Kane’s intervention giving them a lifeline in those final few crazy minutes at Wembley.
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Those goals, giving them a 2-1 victory over Mark van Bommel’s resilient team, have given Spurs an outside shot at knockout football in the Champions League at the turn of the year.
Pochettino has put them in that position, with fixed and firm ideas on how he wants them to play.
No doubt he wants to see the job through, to find a way to win the big prizes in the game.
Getting on his case over one substitution is not the way to help him do it.
Plans in Roo-in
IT IS a shame Gareth Southgate and the FA have fallen for a cynical marketing ploy to keep Wayne Rooney in the spotlight.
DC United will be delighted with this regrettable PR stunt because Rooney will become the first player in their history to turn out for England.
Quite how remains to be seen, though, because England boss Southgate has to manage a game against the USA to make sure the former Three Lions striker gets on the pitch.
If the scoreline at Wembley is unfavourable on Thursday after, say, 70 minutes, he could well have to turn to newbie Callum Wilson and say ‘Sorry, fella, you know how it is’, before turning to a retired international footballer for his farewell.
That is one of the reasons Roo was originally scheduled to lead the team out to play the first 30 minutes before leaving the field to a standing ovation.
Instead, this fawning tribute has already turned into an unforgettable experience — for the wrong reason.
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Les said the better
FRASER FORSTER would have been one of the first Southampton players to sign Les Reed’s leaving card yesterday.
One of Reed’s big calls was to give the club’s third-choice keeper a five-year contract worth £95,000 a week last year.
The Saints vice-chairman, who had been desperately trying to manufacture a dignified exit from St Mary’s for months, was finally sacked by chairman Ralph Krueger because of the club’s disastrous form.
Now that Reed has gone, they can go back to The Southampton Way.