Asteras Tripolis vs Tottenham: Criticism is a good thing for a manager, says Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino's Spurs have endured a tough start to the season

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Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino is in the middle of his toughest spell as a manager in England but has claimed that he enjoys receiving criticism.

Ahead of tonight’s Europa League Group C match against Asteras Tripolis, Pochettino is facing questions about his qualities as a coach for the first time in nearly two years in English football. 

Doubts are starting to emerge, particularly regarding his decision to choose Emmanuel Adebayor over the in-form Harry Kane as his main forward for Premier League matches.

Adebayor has been rested for this trip, which suggests he will be included in the starting XI for Sunday’s home game with Stoke City – a move certain to anger some fans.

But Pochettino said: “It is a good thing for a manager to receive criticism. It happens to every manager. It’s a difficult job to have everyone agree with you and to make everyone happy. Sometimes it’s difficult to share the same decisions because we all think we can be managers. But I’m calm, I know which direction I’m going in and how we need to manage our players. It’s true that we need to get results but we have a clear plan.”

Spurs and Aston Villa have been charged by the Football Association with failing to control their players during the melee on Sunday that saw Villa’s Christian Benteke sent off for shoving Spurs midfielder Ryan Mason.

Spurs and Aston Villa have both been charged for failing to control their players

Everton defender Antolin Alcaraz could be sidelined for up to 12 weeks with a dislocated shoulder picked up last Saturday. With John Stones also injured, veteran Sylvain Distin will come into the side for tonight’s Europa League tie at home to Lille.

Celtic, who will be without forwards Anthony Stokes, John Guidetti, Kris Commons and James Forrest for tonight’s Europa League away game with Romania’s Astra Giurgiu, have appealed against Aleksandar Tonev’s seven-match ban for racial abuse.