Southampton boss Claude Puel insists there were no sinister reasons why Jose Fonte did not play against Bournemouth on Sunday.
The Portugal international, who has been linked with a January switch to Manchester United, did not feature in the 3-1 derby victory at the Vitality Stadium.
However, Puel had made it clear that he only wanted to rest Fonte as he had played in the back-to-back Premier League matches against Middlesbrough and Stoke City in the last week.
The Saints boss said: “Always it’s important to keep a good energy and lucidity in every game. It’s not possible for me for 11 players to play all the games.
“Since the beginning of the season we have played 26 official games and more for the international players like Jose.
“It’s not possible to keep a good level every three days and it is important to develop the team and maintain quality with good fit and good spirit for the future because we need all the players.
“Of course all the players want to play every game and Jose does as he is the captain, but it’s important as he is 33 and he is strong physically without injury and it’s important he keeps this quality every game.”
Southampton can be backed at 12/5 to keep a clean sheet against Tottenham on 28th December while they are available at 14/1 to beat Spurs 2-0.