Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insists his team selection against Newcastle is only coming under scrutiny because his side lost.
Pochettino named Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen on the bench as the future of both men remains shrouded in uncertainty ahead of the European transfer window closing next week.
Eriksen came off the bench, but could not affect things in a horrible 1-0 defeat that saw Spurs struggle to create chances against a resolute Magpies, while Vertonghen is still waiting for his first appearance of the season.
The exclusion of both men continues to be a talking point given their contribution during Pochettino’s reign, but the boss says it would not be a topic had Spurs won.
He said: “I cannot pick more than 11 players. A decision like that when you have plenty of players, but I understand a question like that.
“Should the result be 3-0 or 4-0 you’re not going to ask me that question but of course I accept it.
“The players who are out are always good when you don’t win.”
Pochettino has spoken at length about how the later closing date of the European window is affecting his squad, given so many players have doubts over their future.
Along with Eriksen and Vertonghen, who are both in the last year of their contracts, there are also issues surrounding Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama.
But the Argentinian says the situation, which he has called a mess, is not a factor come matchday.
“Of course the problem is during the week, when you arrive at the competition maybe it can affect, but I think we should, with a bit more today, be winning,” he said of the Newcastle loss.
“This type of stuff happens in the Premier League and that’s why you not only need quality players, you need a very good dynamic, and strong team bond and at the moment that situation in our group is still far far away from what we expect.”
For Newcastle, Joelinton’s first goal for the club gave them a first win of the campaign, easing some of the pressure on Steve Bruce.
Defender Fabian Schar told the club’s official website: “It’s unbelievable. To win away against Spurs is fantastic.
“It was a great job from all the guys. I think it was very important to get that better feeling for the rest of the season.
“We know the first two games weren’t successful but now we have an important win away. It’s good for our confidence and I’m really happy.”