Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino must learn from FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester United
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The Spurs manager kept faith with domestic cup goalkeeper Michel Vorm on Saturday, but surely he should have picked his strongest team?
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has defended his decision to start Michel Vorm in goal for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.
The Dutchman has been Spurs’ cup goalkeeper for the last few years and got the nod last weekend, but was unable to prevent the Red Devils winning 2-1.
Vorm was arguably at fault for United’s winner as Ander Herrera’s shot nestled into the centre of the net.
Pochettino hit back at suggestions he should have played first-choice Hugo Lloris and pointed to last season’s semi-final loss to Chelsea and the 2015 League Cup final reverse to the Blues, who were then managed by United boss Jose Mourinho.
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“Look, I repeat after four years for me it’s not about the names or who is going to play,” said Spurs’ manager.
“It’s about the team. Like last season, we played the semi-final and we lost 4-2 to Chelsea with Hugo.
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“There was also the final of the Capital One Cup and we lost 2-0 to Chelsea with Hugo. On Saturday we lost 2-1 to Manchester United and we have Michel in goal.
“For me it is about the team. Michel Vorm deserved to play and I am so happy because I thought he was good.
“It is not about one player or 11 players or playing a different 11 players. I think (the result) it’s not like this.
“I am happy with the performance and the effort, it was an even game, for me a little bit more for us, but we were close but not close enough to win.”
The semi-final, as was to be expected, was tight and there was not much between the teams, but United in the end probably did enough to succeed given their defensive solidarity in the second half.
While Lloris has not been at his best recently, he is widely regarded by most as a better goalkeeper than Vorm.
So with this in mind, was Pochettino’s wrong to go into Saturday’s match and not play his strongest team?
He has generally always placed trust in Vorm for domestic cup games and would have played him in last season’s FA Cup semi-final had he not been injured.
Yet, changing goalkeeper and weakening the team in the process surely does not aid Tottenham’s chances of winning these big games and going on to win silverware?
Whether Vorm was at fault for United’s winner or not, the Spurs back four of Kieran Trippier, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Ben Davies are more accustomed to playing with Lloris.
Picking another option in goal either consciously or subconsciously would have unsettled the Tottenham defence on Saturday.
It might not have been the main reason Spurs lost, but it didn’t help and is something Pochettino must learn from going forward.