Mauricio Pochettino has branded Pep Guardiola “disrespectful” and guilty of making such a “sad comment” that the Tottenham Hotspur players had openly laughed at him when he described them as the “Harry Kane team”.
In an extraordinary defence of Spurs, and attack on Guardiola, Pochettino even said the Manchester City manager “struggles to be a gentleman” when he wins and should have called him over the international break to apologise.
In a sense this was old-school management from Pochettino, rallying his club against a rival with a punchy, bravura performance, but what was so surprising was how increasingly vehement he was in his stance - which started with the claim that “the situation did not affect me” and that he had laughed about it but ended with an unequivocal denouncement of Guardiola.
His remarks were in response to Guardiola’s comment, after City’s 1-0 victory away at Stamford Bridge before the international matches, when he listed the “Harry Kane team” alongside Chelsea and Manchester United as the Premier League title contenders.
“I don’t know why he said it,” Pochettino said. “Why he showed too much respect to Manchester United because in the same way he could have said ‘Lukaku team’. But in the same sentence he said Manchester United, Mourinho, and then he said it was the Harry Kane team. It was very disrespectful to the club.”