Mauricio Pochettino says doubts over Christian Eriksen's Tottenham future will not affect whether he will start against Manchester City on Saturday.
Even though the English transfer window has closed, leagues around Europe can still swoop for Premier League talent, with Eriksen reportedly still on Real Madrid's radar.
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The Denmark international has just one year left on his contract, meaning he could leave for free at the end of the season, which could force Spurs' hand. But Pochettino, speaking ahead of Spurs' Saturday clash with City at the Etihad, live on Sky Sports, is adamant Eriksen is still very much part of his plans regardless on any potential departure.
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Asked if Eriksen will start against City, Pochettino said: "We will see. There are only 11 players who can start. I am happy with the last week with how he is doing, his performance in training (has been good). We still have one training session and I will decide the starting XI.
"No (contract situation does not affect decision). For me it is the same between a player who has one year on his contract and one who has five years, the section is not for the length of the contract it is for the performance.
"After five years you all (media) should know to avoid this question, because you know I will take the decision based only on performance, and not personal situation with the club.
"My point is to help all the players, to support all the players until they decide with the club to go a different way with their career, and to show respect to all. Sometimes it is difficult to understand outside of football or this club that respect means respect."
Pochettino also lightheartedly gave his response to Jose Mourinho's claim that Spurs are title contenders - along with "Man City, Liverpool, and Man City B team" - accepting the comments very much as a compliment.
"I love Mo (Mourinho)," Pochettino added. "We all know he is so clever, he is so sarcastic sometimes, that is why the is one of the best managers in the world.
"I respect his opinion. I am grateful, too, because a coach like Mourinho believing in our potential to be a contender is important.
"We have our belief and our faith in us, but that compliment helps us to believe that little bit more, of course."