Danny Rose has hit back at suggestions of another bust-up with Mauricio Pochettino after the Tottenham defender was substituted against Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday.
Rose was taken off in the 70th minute at Wembley after a tussle with Apoel’s Roland Sallai left him needing stitches around the top of his left eye.
After returning from nine months out with injury in October, Rose is desperate to regain fitness and he reacted to his withdrawal by marching straight down the tunnel.
He re-emerged soon after to take his place on the bench. The episode looked fairly harmless but Rose has become a magnet for controversy in recent weeks.
After his explosive interview in August suggesting he wanted to leave Spurs, the 27-year-old admitted last month he was “fuming” with Pochettino for leaving him out of the squad to face Arsenal.
Rose, however, insisted there was nothing in this latest incident and is fed up with talk of a rift.
“This is getting silly now, the manager said it was best I came off and I didn’t want to come off. That was it,” Rose said.
“I’ve seen already that people are saying we exchanged words. There is no issue between me and the manager. There has never been an issue. And people trying to put stuff in the media is not welcomed.
“For the last three-and-a-half years, four years, the manager has been my biggest fan. He’s given me nothing but love and respect. There is no issue. There never will be an issue. People need to stop this because it’s not welcomed.”
Rose delivered one of his best performances since coming back from injury as Tottenham coasted to a 3-0 victory over Apoel, with goals coming from Fernando Llorente, Son Heung-min and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou.
They had already secured first place in Group H but that will not guarantee a lesser opponent in Monday’s draw for the last 16. Bayern Munich and Juventus are the stand-out sides to avoid.
“Whoever is out there, we are confident we can beat anybody and we’ve proved that throughout the group stage,” Rose said.
“I wouldn’t like Bayern! But we don’t fear anybody. The manager would prefer us to have one of the top teams. He relishes those sorts of games.
“We’ve proved this season that we do turn up in these games in the group stage and we’ll be looking forward to the draw.”
Rose added: “I hope teams look at those performances and realise Tottenham are a team to be feared. When we turn up, we can beat anybody on our night.”
They will be one of five English teams in the hat as Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all made it through.
Asked about the Premier League’s resurgence in Europe, Rose said: “I’m not sure. United had an easier group. Liverpool’s group, compared to ours, it wasn’t that difficult.
“I know many people won’t have thought we would have done as well as we have done and it’s credit to all the teams, and especially us.”
Tottenham must first turn their attention back to their domestic form, where one win in five league games has left them 18 points adrift of City. Spurs host Stoke on Saturday.