Pochettino: A risk to play on Rochdale pitch

Cape Town – Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has voiced his concerns about Rochdale's Spotland Stadium pitch ahead of their FA Cup fifth round tie.

The two sides are due to face off at Spotland on February 18 after Spurs overcame Newport County, at the second time of asking as the Dale beat Millwall, also in a replay.

But with the field having been covered with sand before the Millwall tie to ensure the game could go ahead, Pochettino has now said that playing the game there is "a big risk".

He was reported on the BBC as saying: "I think the FA needs to assess the pitch and then to take a decision if it is good for the FA Cup, good for the players, for the team and players to play on this type of pitch.

"I think it is about providing a safe place to play for the players.

"I think it is a big risk to play on a pitch like this, if the pictures give us an accurate state. If it is like what I saw in the pictures I don't think you can play football.

"Not because we are Tottenham – Rochdale I think too cannot play there. It is a massive risk for their players too. The FA needs to go in and take a good decision for football."

Rochdale chief executive Russ Green, meanwhile, added: "We didn't endanger anybody's careers and I don't care if it's a Tottenham player or a Millwall player – they are still professional footballers.

"Has anyone spoken to the referee? He told me after the game and said he couldn't believe the pitch stood up to what it did.

"If it's financially viable, we would put down a new pitch before the cup tie. It's something we're considering doing.

"Has anybody looked at the weather we've had over the past 12 months? We had 289 days of rain last year – 4ft 11.5in of it. We've had to overcome exceptional circumstances."

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