Mauricio Pochettino bristled at being asked if Chrstian Eriksen has played his last game for Tottenham after he was named on the bench for their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United.
Denmark international Eriksen had asked to leave the club during the close-season amid reported interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid.
The former Ajax playmaker was not included in the starting XI on Sunday, coming on in the 62nd minute as Joelinton condemned Spurs to a frustrating home loss.
Speaking in his post-match media conference, Pochettino said: “I don’t know [if Eriksen has played his last game].
“Why do you ask me? Do you know something? It is so difficult the situation.”
Pressed on why he did not pick Eriksen, Pochettino replied: “I can only pick 11. I understand the question. If we win 3-0 or 4-0 then these questions aren’t asked.”
Tottenham were denied a late penalty as referee Mike Dean rejected claims when Jamaal Lascelles fell in his own area and took Harry Kane with him.
VAR backed up Dean’s decision, with the technology having rescued Spurs in their 2-2 draw against Manchester City last time out.
Asked about the incident, Pochettino added: “I am going to have the chance now to see it, but I trust and am fully committed to the VAR.
“When it’s for us I’m more than happy and when it’s not for us I will respect it, but nothing to complain about.”
The win for Newcastle marked Steve Bruce’s first as boss. He faced intense criticism of his organisational skills in the wake of successive defeats to Arsenal and Norwich City, with former Magpies striker Michael Chopra claiming senior players had told him some members of the squad do not know their jobs.
In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Bruce said: “It’s really embarrassing some of the stuff, the only way you can respond to it is by your team putting in a performance like that. The discipline, the shape, the organisation was there for everybody to see.
“I’ve managed 900 and odd games over 20 years; you think there would be some sort of little bit of respect. Whoever was going to replace Rafa [Benitez] was going to have a tough time, the easiest thing would be to have said no to the challenge.
“I’m determined to take the club forward and days like today, your first win, you remember it for a long time.”