Mauricio Pochettino said injury and illness meant Harry Winks was not an option for Tottenham’s FA Cup win against AFC Wimbledon at Wembley.
The England international, a popular figure among fans, has not featured for Spurs since the Boxing Day win against Southampton.
“Harry Winks had a problem in his ankle and had a cold during the week. He’s not ready to play,” boss Pochettino explained.
“They’re not machines. There are 24 players who all work hard to fight for one place in the starting 11.”
Harry Kane scored twice as Spurs won 3-0 to take their place in the fourth round.
“I think it was a solid performance. We created a lot of chances,” Pochettino said.
“In the first half we played well but it was difficult to score. In the second half we deserved to score and go through to the next round.”