Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino concerned by state of Rochdale pitch
PUBLISHED: 14:36 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:36 08 February 2018
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Spurs are set to visit Spotlands on Sunday February 18 for an FA Cup fifth round tie
Mauricio Pochettino has expressed his concern about the state of Rochdale’s pitch ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup tie – and he has called on the competition organisers to investigate whether the surface is safe enough to play on.
Having won their fourth-round replay against Newport last night, Tottenham are due to visit Rochdale in the fifth round on Sunday February 18.
But the League One strugglers’ field is covered is covered in sand, and Pochettino was worried when he saw a photo. He intends to discuss the issue with chairman Daniel Levy.
“I think we are going to struggle - not only us but them (Rochdale) too,” he said. “I think the FA need to assess how the pitch is and then take a decision on if it’s good for the FA Cup, the players and the teams to play on this type of pitch in that condition.
“I don’t think it helps football. I don’t know why what happened happened on the pitch but it’s true that, through the picture, I think it’s not a pitch in a condition to play football.
“It’s about providing a safe place to play for the players. I think it’s a big risk to play on a pitch like this, if the picture gave us the accurate state.
“If it’s like I saw in the picture, I think you cannot play football. That is my point of view, but not because we are Tottenham. I think Rochdale cannot play football too there, and it’s a massive risk for their players too.
“Maybe the FA need to go in and try to take a very good decision for football
“I’m going to speak with the chairman today in the afternoon and, with the club, try to find a solution or to see what we can do.
“I haven’t been able to speak with him but I am going to see him later in the afternoon, because it’s his birthday today. I want to congratulate him – happy birthday Daniel.”
Asked if has bought chairman Daniel Levy a present, Pochettino replied: “Yes, myself.”
Spurs’ immediate task is to prepare for Saturday’s north London derby against Arsenal at Wembley, as the Premier League’s fifth and sixth-placed sides go head to head.
Pochettino has a fully-fit squad and January signing Lucas Moura, who was ineligible to face Newport in midweek, could make his debut.
“I think he will be ready to be in contention for Saturday,” said Pochettino. “He’s doing well, training so hard. He’s starting to feel his legs. We need to assess him tomorrow after the last training session but I hope’s he’s doing well and we can put him in contention.”
Centre-back Toby Alderweireld returned from a hamstring injury against Newport on Wednesday, playing throughout the match after previously missing 20 games, but no decision has been taken on whether he will start against Arsenal.
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