Mauricio Pochettino has defended Tottenham youngster Juan Foyth after his mistake against Arsenal, labelling the centre-back “one of the best players on the pitch” in the derby.
Foyth gave the ball away on the halfway line in the build-up to Alexandre Lacazette’s goal that put Arsenal 3-2 up, and Spurs failed to recover from that point.
The 20-year-old was a somewhat surprising selection given Toby Alderweireld was fit and available on the bench.
Pochettino has received some criticism for picking Foyth over Alderweireld, but the Tottenham boss was keen to defend his countryman in his post-match press conference.
“How many players on halfway line miss the pass? A lot,” Pochettino said (via the London Evening Standard).
“And then it is 50 metres to arrive to the goal. Because he is young it is easy to blame him, it is easy.
“But for me, Juan was one of the best players on the pitch. If we put this pass that wasn’t good in that action out of the 90 minutes, by far was the best. By far.”
Although I think Alderweireld should have played, I’m pleased to see Pochettino defending Foyth.
He was mostly brilliant on the day, and his teammates perhaps could have done more to prevent Lacazette’s goal after Foyth had given the ball away.
Jan Vertonghen will be suspended for Wednesday’s meeting with Southampton after his red card, so Foyth is likely to partner Alderweireld in the heart of the defence at Wembley.
Hopefully he can bounce back from his error as soon as possible.