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Thursday 17 August 2017

Pochettino happy with Vertonghen

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has rejected talk of an issue with Jan Vertonghen, insisting the Belgium defender remains happy at White Hart Lane.

The 27-year-old had been one of the first names on the team sheet ever since arriving from Ajax in 2012, yet has found it hard to pin down a regular first-team berth this term.

Vertonghen's place on the bench in Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Manchester City reignited rumours that all may not be well between the defender and Pochettino - something both have downplayed in recent weeks. Pochettino attempted to extinguish that speculation once again on Wednesday, saying: "Jan is an important player for Tottenham and for us.

"But a lot of rumours and information and different situations, and for me it's easy because I don't read it. Never.

"I know the players are sometimes affected by comment or rumours and they call me about the rumours but Jan is a very important player for Tottenham and for me."

Pochettino says the players have responded well to that 4-1 loss but is well aware a winning response is needed in tonight's Europa League clash against Asteras Tripolis.

The Greek side arrive in north London as a relatively-unknown quantity but Spurs' coaching staff have done their homework on the current Group C leaders.

"I have a lot of information about Asteras," Pochettino said. "It is a very good team, a lot of Argentine players, seven, and I believe that they have a very good philosophy. They are a very dynamic team, play well, offensive, brave and we expect a very tough game."

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v ASTERAS, LIVE SETANTA IRL & ITV 4 (KO 8.05)

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