Jose Mourinho insists he now has ‘total trust’ in his entire squad after affording a number of key Tottenham players a much-needed rest ahead of Sunday’s north London derby.
Mourinho made seven changes to his side for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Dinamo Zagreb. That allowed the likes of Gareth Bale, Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Toby Alderweireld a rest.
Being able to make so many changes for an important knockout game is progress for Mourinho. After doing so to huge detriment earlier in the Europa League campaign against Royal Antwerp, Mourinho vowed ‘never to do it again’.
He changed almost his entire XI and was stung by a poor performance in a 1-0 defeat in Belgium.
However, Mourinho and Spurs have come a long way since – and it seems he’s ready to utilise his squad to help them through a busy schedule.
“The reason why on Thursday we changed seven players from the last match was because I trust all the guys,” he said.
“The last time I did this, we lost against Antwerp and everybody was killing me. And rightly so, because I made these decisions but in that match I felt a little let down by attitude. It was a moment where not everybody was working well and hard and trying to play.
“I change seven in a very important match and I did it because of trust. To be honest I didn’t change 11 because I didn’t want to give the team a feeling of it’s too much or I’m gambling or something like that because I could have perfectly changed.”
Mouirnho sympathy for Joe Hart
One man who Mourinho feels sorry not to have picked on Thursday is Joe Hart.
The former England keeper was overlooked on Thursday. That despite being one of those signed for occasions such as Thursday.
“I felt bad for my decision not to play Joe Hart,” Mourinho added. “[He’s] one of the best goalkeepers in this country, no doubt one of the best English goalkeepers.
“I didn’t want to play him not because of a question of trust but more because of a feeling to the dressing room that I couldn’t change 11 players, the game is difficult.
“But I have everybody. The question was about Serge [Aurier] and Matt [Doherty] but I went in other directions with my answer. But the reality is we have that, we have everybody playing well.”
Spurs are set to have everyone available expect for Giovani Lo Celso against Arsenal.
The Argentinian has been out since December with a hamstring injury. He though has since picked up a back niggle since his return to training.