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Tottenham boss Pochettino eager to take sting out of Rochdale trip: I'm sorry

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has apologised to Rochdale ahead of their FA Cup tie for criticising the state of their pitch.

The League One club have relaid their playing surface after the previous version - heavily sanded following poor weather - was deemed unfit to stage Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Pochettino's Tottenham side.

Rochdale are confident the new pitch at Spotland will hold up well and Pochettino regrets giving the impression that his players were unwilling to play there.

“I want to apologise if anyone at Rochdale, such as the chairman (Chris Dunphy) took it in the wrong way," said Pochettino. “My idea was to care for the players of Rochdale.

"After we beat Newport in the fourth-round replay, their manager Michael Flynn showed me a picture of the pitch and it wasn't great.

“I wanted to ensure their players and my players would be safe, but I was always very respectful.

“But now I have seen pictures and videos of the new pitch on the Rochdale website and I need to congratulate them. The effort was massive, to put in a new pitch so we can play without risk. I was always confident and trusted them that they would be able to fix the problem."

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Paul Vegas

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