Pochettino defends players after Brighton draw

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insists his side's failure to beat Brighton and Hove Albion had nothing to do with his decision to field a much-changed starting XI.

The Argentinian made six changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Manchester City at the weekend, with Dele Alli the most notable absentee from the squad.

Toby Alderweireld made his first Premier League appearance since October, while there were also starts for Son Heung-min, Victor Wanyama, Moussa Sissoko, Serge Aurier and Lucas Moura.

They were unable to inspire Spurs to a win that would have drawn them level with Liverpool in third, but Pochettino refused to lay blame at their feet.

"We were thinking of giving the team fresh legs because Saturday's game against Manchester City was tough mentally and physically," he told Sky Sports.

"We have a squad good enough to win games. Today was not because we rotated the team. Everyone is ready to play but Brighton was a very difficult opponent and we need to give credit to them."

After a dismal first half, Harry Kane's 26th league goal of the season in the 48th minute looked to have set up the north London side for a routine win.

Those hopes were extinguished within 90 seconds, though, as Pascal Gross netted from the penalty spot after Jose Izquierdo was felled in the area, much to the disappointment of Pochettino.

He added: "It was a difficult game, the first half was even and the second half we started it really well.

"We scored and in the next section we conceded. In the second half we dominated, created chances but not enough to win the game.

"The draw is a little bit disappointing because the intention was to get all three."

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