Pochettino to keep faith with Spurs fringe players after Wycombe scare

LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino admits he has no choice but to continue trusting his Tottenham squad, despite Saturday's scare against Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup.

Before the game, Pochettino warned his fringe players they would be playing for their futures against the League Two club and after the last-gasp 4-3 win he said: "If you cannot play in this type of game, we will have a problem."

The Spurs manager made nine changes from the side that drew 2-2 at Manchester City but was forced to make three substitutions before the hour and it took a goal from Son Heung-Min in the seventh and final minute of stoppage-time to finally break Wycombe, who led 2-0 at half-time and 3-2 after 83 minutes.

Tottenham were the only team to make nine changes or more in the fourth round and progress but Pochettino says he will to continue to rotate in the FA Cup and Europa League, which resumes with a round-of-32 tie against AA Gent next month.

"It is important that they need to feel that we trust them. It's not that we only trust 10 or 11 players because always if you want to win titles, if you want to be in the history of football, it is not only 11 players or 14 or 16," Pochettino told reporters after the game.

"It is about 20, 22, 25 players. We are building a really good squad to try to go far in every competition. The important thing is we are in the next round. It is important for them to realise that we need to work more and try to be motivated.

"The first half was very difficult. We need to assess why, to analyse. It was the 11 players -- it is not only one or another. I wasn't upset -- they were better and we need to change that. We need to change that feeling and play a different way. It was not a good performance from the beginning but in the second half we scored four goals. The team showed their character again, like at Manchester City in the second half.

"Today we have a few players at risk of getting injured and you need to rest them because you cannot compete with Tuesday Sunderland, then Saturday Middlesbrough. You need and we need and the fans need to understand we cannot always play the same team, the same 11 players, because they are not machines. They are human."

A double from veteran striker Paul Hayes, the second from the penalty spot, had put the Chairboys in charge but Son pulled a goal back and Spurs' substitute Vincent Janssen won and scored a penalty. Garry Thompson's header seven minutes from time put the visitors on course for a famous victory but Dele Alli, another substitute, equalised two minutes from time.

Starters Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Joshua Omonah and Moussa Sissoko all failed to impress for Spurs but Pochettino admitted it was difficult for some of his players, who are lacking match practice. "We played with the same team against Aston Villa [in the third-round] and they are a Championship club," Pochettino continued. "They played with their best players and we played very well. It is not about names. It is not about names.

"If you play against Wycombe, a League Two club, it is difficult because of their motivation and excitement is massive. But when you sign a player for your squad you need to be available to play and have enough quality to play in this type of game.

"It is difficult when you have not played too much and not played regularly and you need to play and must win because it is a different level. To turn the result and win 4-3 at the end, playing 30 minutes with 10 players on the pitch, we need to recognise and be positive with the players."

Son celebrated the Korean New Year with two goals, taking him to 11 for the season, and afterwards he said: "The first half was not Tottenham. Everyone knows how bad we were. I think it was mentally really big -- we played against a League Two team. Everyone wants to be more relaxed than a normal week when you play against Man City. Everyone wants to be a bit relaxed.

"In the second half we showed how Tottenham is. At Tottenham everyone has to run, to be ready, everyone has to press, everyone is together. This is our Tottenham.

"[At half-time] the manager was really calm. He just said 'this isn't good -- this isn't Tottenham.' We know we're much better than we were in the first half."