(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur could ring in the changes for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Leicester City but manager Mauricio Pochettino said the decision had nothing to do with their Champions League clash with Barcelona in midweek.
Tottenham travel to Barcelona next Tuesday needing a win to guarantee qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League for the third time, but Pochettino said his immediate focus was on keeping pace with Liverpool and Manchester City in the league.
“We’re going to try to take the best decision for Saturday, to try to be competitive and perform in the best way. It is not easy of course, because to play every three days is so tough for the players and the staff,” Pochettino told reporters on Friday.
“Next is Barcelona and we are going to maybe rotate some players, because they need rest, not because we are going to play in Barcelona Tuesday.
Pochettino has regularly rotated his players in recent weeks and the Tottenham side that beat Southampton 3-1 on Wednesday featured five changes to the one that lost 4-2 at Arsenal.
“The decision we take is always to try and provide the best for the players. If we detect some players are tired, then maybe it’s best to rest, but we’re thinking always about winning the game against Leicester, not the game after.”
Defenders Juan Foyth (hamstring) and Kieran Trippier (groin) have been ruled out of the game at Leicester with injuries.
Meanwhile, Pochettino described the club’s extended stay at Wembley Stadium as a gift.
The club have secured Wembley until the end of the season as a contingency with the opening of a new 62,000-seater ground at White Hart Lane delayed until 2019.
“Every week or two weeks we have the possibility to play at Wembley. It’s a gift,” Pochettino said.
“For me it’s the best place in the world to play football, and of course after that will be shared with our new stadium as the best place to play.”
Tottenham are third in the league with 33 points from 15 matches while Leicester are ninth with 22 points.
(This story has been refiled to make clear in para 2 that Spurs have to win to guarantee reaching last 16.)
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra