Spurs' FA Cup win over Newport showed squad depth - Pochettino
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino hailed Tottenham's squad depth after Wednesday's 2-0 win over Newport County in the FA Cup fourth-round replay at Wembley.
The Spurs manager made 10 changes from the 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Sunday, but he was still able to name internationals Serge Aurier, Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko in the starting XI, while Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Harry Winks all returned from injury.
"It's important for many players to have the possibility to play," Pochettino said. "It's tough to find a place [for them] to play because the team is doing well. Today was a great opportunity for different players like Toby, Danny, Harry Winks to start to play games and start to compete. It's completely different to training.
"You know now we have 24 players and it will be tough to find a place in the starting XI for everyone. Twenty-four players all trying to get a start in every single game. I think it's a very good thing for us. We are going to increase our level and in that very busy period we need all focus on trying to give their best."
Asked if Alderweireld, who has been absent since November, and Winks and Rose, both missing since Boxing Day, had come through the match unscathed, Pochettino said: "We are going to assess them now and have the communication from the medical staff. Of course we will have all the information and tomorrow we will assess everyone."
Erik Lamela, who returned after a 13-month injury absence in November, scored his first goal since Sept. 2016 shortly after Dan Butler's 26th-minute own goal had given Spurs the lead. Pochettino said the winger could be even better than before his injury.
"Always it's important to feel the net for offensive players and for him to play 90 minutes. I think it's a very important feeling for him. It's important because he's an important player," Pochettino said.
"Of course it was a massive [injury] problem -- more than one year out. Never it's easy to come back and perform as he was before. But sure before he love football, and he loves to train, I think his mentality is fantastic. I think he is going to find it easy to recover his real level, or improve because he is more mature and you learn in a tough moment a lot. No doubt."
Spurs will travel to League Two Rochdale in the fifth-round and the pitch at Spotland has been described as the worst in the football league.
"I hear that it was not in the best condition, but I think it was like Newport," Pochettino said. "I think we need to learn from Newport, the condition will be [bad] for us but it will be the same for them too.
"We will see. I haven't seen it yet because I always prefer to be focussed on the game and then see what happens in the next. But I think it will be tough, FA Cup, look we play another League Two team and yes, another opportunity for different players to show their quality.
"I wish all the best [to Newport]," he added. "I hope that they win games and fight to try to be in the playoffs for League One.
"Our relationship has been fantastic and now we're going to share some wine with Michael [Flynn, Newport manager] and the staff and of course to share our experiences, it is always good to share and learn from people and yes, a great opportunity to have a nice chat and share a glass of wine."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.