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Dublin: 0 °C Thursday 17 January, 2019

'I never called Barca the Messi team' - Pochettino hits out at Guardiola comments

The Man City boss has been criticised for calling Tottenham “the Harry Kane team”.

Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola
Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola

MAURICIO POCHETTINO HAS accused Pep Guardiola of disrespecting Tottenham after the Manchester City manager referred to “the Harry Kane team”.

Kane was named as Premier League player of the month on Friday after a sensational run of form saw the England striker score 13 times for club and country in September.

Speaking after the 1-0 win at Chelsea that preserved City’s place at the top of the table, Guardiola made the observation that pricked Pochettino’s ears when running through the list of Premier League title contenders.

“We’re in September. Chelsea won 13 games in a row last season,” he said. “We have [Manchester] United and the Harry Kane team, who scores every game two or three goals.”

Guardiola regularly praised a host of Tottenham players last season and sanctioned a move in the region of £50million to secure Spurs’ England full-back Kyle Walker during the transfer window.

Nevertheless, Pochettino told reporters before his side’s game against Bournemouth that he was unhappy with the former Barcelona boss, who he resisted taking a similar shot at during his time in charge of Espanyol.

I know Pep, when he’s excited after an amazing win he struggles to keep his position and be a gentleman,” he said. “It was disrespectful for many.

“When he was at Barca I never said ‘the Messi team’.

I think it’s a sad comment because the players laugh about that. If you’re a manager you must show more [respect], no? To be above this type of comment.

“That is my opinion like I respect his opinion, but I don’t think it will make the players more motivated or less motivated. I think it’s the same.

It’s sad and it’s not right in football. Today we want to show respect, fair play and everything.”

Pochettino added that Guardiola had not spoken to him about the incident – although he expects this to change.

No, of course not. He hasn’t called me yet. Maybe after the press conference he calls me. I’m sure I will reply,” he added.

“Of course [I will talk to Guardiola]. We have a very good relationship. I have a lot of friends [on the City coaching staff].

“Mikel Arteta, Lorenzo Buenaventura, Eduardo Mauri – all his staff are very good friends of mine before they met him.

It’s a sad comment. It’s not him. He’s a great manager, one of the best managers in the world. Why that comment? It didn’t help him, it’s not a good thing for anyone.”

Pochettino inflicted Guardiola’s first defeat as City boss with a 2-0 triumph at White Hart Lane last October before Spurs battled back to snatch a 2-2 draw in the return fixture.

City and Tottenham meet for the first time this season on 16 December at the Etihad Stadium.

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