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'Not fair!' - Pochettino slams Eredivisie decision to give Ajax rest ahead of Champions League clash

16:54 IST 26/04/2019
Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham 2018-19
The Dutch club received an entire week of rest before their first leg against Spurs, which has the Argentine crying foul

Mauricio Pochettino believes the postponement of an entire matchday of Eredivisie matches gives Ajax an unfair advantage over Tottenham in their Champions League semi-final tie.

Ajax had been scheduled to take on De Graafschap on Sunday, but then stunned Juventus to book their trip to the Champions League semi-finals.

Rules in the Eredivisie say squads must have two full days of rest between matches, and with their first leg against Spurs set to take place Tuesday,  Dutch officials claimed the match against De Graafschap had to be rescheduled .

However, since moving the match to Friday or Saturday was impossible due to a national holiday in the Netherlands, the league instead decided to postpone the entire matchday.

Instead of the Eredivisie season ending on Sunday, May 12, it will now finish on May 15 instead, with the postponed fixtures taking part on that date.

The result sees Ajax getting a week off between their last match against Vitesse and their first leg in London against Tottenham, while Spurs face West Ham on Saturday.

And though Pochettino believes the Premier League has made an effort to ease his club’s predicament, he nonetheless feels hard done by the fact Ajax will have a full week between games.

"It is difficult,” Pochettino said. “I understand that in this type of situation everyone can have an opinion.

"I know very well the Premier League and FA have tried to help.

"It's true that the Premier League is very different to the Dutch league, the fact or the reality is they are not going to play. I think it's not fair."

Tottenham are currently in a difficult battle to secure a top-four place in the Premier League and can afford little in the way of squad rotation between the two competitions.

Spurs are third in the Premier League, holding a three-point advantage over Chelsea in fourth and a four-point edge over Arsenal in fifth with three games remaining for each side.

With a final slate of West Ham, Bournemouth and Everton, Spurs can afford no slip-ups in the league, while navigating a difficult tie with the Dutch club who have already managed shock upsets of Real Madrid and Juventus.

Spurs could also secure a spot in next year’s Champions League by winning the competition, but Pochettino is unlikely to want to leave qualification to that route.