Tottenham's team selection not to blame for dip in form - Pochettino

GHENT, Belgium -- Mauricio Pochettino says his team selections are not to blame for Tottenham's dramatic slump, but he admitted Vincent Janssen needs to do better in training to earn a place in the squad.

Thursday's 1-0 defeat to Belgian side KAA Gent was Tottenham's fourth match without a win or a goal from open play and they look a shadow of the team that thrashed opponents in January.

Pochettino resisted the temptation to rotate his squad for the Europa League round-of-32 first leg in Belgium, making only two changes from the 2-0 defeat at Liverpool in the league -- with a similar outcome.

The Spurs manager must quickly address the slump ahead of Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round match at Fulham and the return leg with Gent at Wembley on Thursday, but he believes restoring the squad's spirit is more important than changing his team.

"Now it's about trying to give support to help them recover the same spirit and the same feeling as before Liverpool. I am not unhappy, I'm not upset. Sometimes things happen, up and down. Now we'll try to be all together and try to find all together the way to change this run," Pochettino said after Thursday's match.

"It's not about changing [the lineup]. It's about the spirit of the team and the squad. Against Liverpool, [there was] a different team. Today, a different team. In the end, it's Tottenham and we lost both games. It's not that if we change or if we rotate the squad, play with a different starting XI, it's to blame the players. It's about the team when we don't have a good result.

"You know how tough the competition is in England: the Premier League, the Champions League, the Europa League. Always it's difficult. Because maybe tomorrow some problems will appear with the players [like] they are not fresh and it's a big risk to play them on Sunday.

"After we have a lot of games ahead to play. It's not a lack of respect. We try to give all the players an opportunity. It's maybe not the case, because maybe we will play with the same team as today. When you play every three days, it's always difficult to keep your fitness levels."

Striker Janssen, who cost £17 million in the summer, was left out of the matchday squad in Gent, with Son Heung-Min and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, both wingers, preferred on the bench.

The 22-year-old is yet to score from open play for Tottenham since joining from AZ Alkmaar -- where he finished top scorer in last season's Eredivisie -- in the summer but he has scored four penalties in 27 appearances for the club.

"He needs to show more and we'll see. Maybe he will have the opportunity to be on the bench or play [from the start on Sunday]," Pochettino said. "Today we cannot be sure if he will be on the squad, on the bench or start from the beginning.

"Performance is always about how the players show their quality, their belief on the training ground. When you select the starting XI and the bench, I try to be fair. It's normal that maybe he needs to show more."

Janssen is the second summer signing to be publicly criticised by Pochettino after the manager said in November that £30m addition Moussa Sissoko needed to "work hard and show he deserves to be in the team."

Pochettino will be without Danny Rose (knee) and Erik Lamela (hip) against Fulham, while Harry Kane is unlikely to be risked after taking a knock to his knee in Ghent. Jan Vertonghen resumed full training on Friday and is expected to play some part.