Mauricio Pochettino has accused Tottenham’s Premier League rivals of lacking professionalism for publicly saying they wanted Leicester to beat Spurs to the title.
Chelsea ended Spurs’ title hopes by snatching a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Monday and before the game Blues pair Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard said they wanted Leicester to be champions — even though the Foxes visit Stamford Bridge on the final day of the season.
West Brom boss Tony Pulis, whose side earned a significant 1-1 draw at Tottenham a fortnight ago, and Franceso Guidolin, whose Swansea team meekly lost 3-0 to the Foxes on the same weekend, also said they hoped Leicester would win the league.
Pochettino and his players have previously brushed aside the comments but the Spurs head coach admitted on Friday he felt they were inappropriate, and said he would raise the issue at the next meeting of Premier League managers.
“In football, our responsibility is to be professional. When you are a professional, don’t give your opinion, your personal opinion,” Pochettino told a news conference.
“If I support Tottenham and play against a team which fights for the title or to survive, then I can’t give my opinion as a supporter — I need to give my opinion as a professional.
“It’s always dangerous when something like that happens. In the last few weeks or months, people maybe don’t behave like professionals and we need to be careful.
“Maybe in the next few meetings of the Premier League, the managers and also the staff, we need to say that in the future we must be careful with all these comments in public.”
After the draw at Chelsea, Eric Dier said that the Spurs players did not “appreciate” the comments of Fabregas and Hazard, and the duo were both on the receiving end of a number of feisty tackles in bad-tempered match, in which there were three mass brawls and Spurs amassed nine yellow cards — a Premier League record.
Asked specifically whether the duo’s remarks had fueled the fire in the “Battle at the Bridge,” Pochettino insisted he was talking in general terms, rather than blaming the Chelsea pair.
“I don’t blame them. It’s in general, a general opinion. Sometimes my press conference is boring because I’m very polite or political. No — I am professional. There’s a big difference,” he added.
“I don’t want to be popular — I want to be professional. That’s the most important thing. It’s easy to say big things against our enemy because: ‘Oh, the people love me, I’m very strong, so I’ll say things like this.’ Come on. We are professional.
“The managers, the league, the players’ association need to say that we must behave professionally. We need to play, to be honest and show integrity and be professional always. I like that when our opponent fights, tries to win, but … It’s difficult to explain. For me, if we want to keep football healthy in the future and not cynical and dishonest, we need to behave in a different way. This is important.”
Meanwhile, Pochettino says Mousa Dembele’s six-match ban for violent conduct at Stamford Bridge is “unfair.”
The Belgian will miss Spurs’ final two matches of the season and the first four games of next term after appearing to scratch Diego Costa’s face.
FA rules do not allow for Spurs to request a personal hearing or appeal if the ban is 6 games or more.
Pochettino said: “For me, it’s not fair. But they are the rules in football. It’s true that in football sometimes the rules give out a different message to the people. Sometimes it happens.
“I’m happy with the way that the camera recorded everything. But we cannot blame now some action. But if you break someone’s leg, then it’s only three games. But if you touch someone then it’s six games.”
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