Pochettino hits out at open support for Foxes

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The fairytale rise of Leicester City may have won over many admirers, but Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has blasted such pro-Foxes stances as being unprofessional.

The Argentinian is poised to guide his team to a second-place finish, the first time in 21 years that Spurs will finish above Arsenal in the league.

However, the normally urbane Argentine had harsh words for the rest of the league who had expressed their support for the Foxes in the title run-in, and wanted the issue to be raised and discussed at the next Premier League meeting.

Ahead of today's final home game against Southampton, Pochettino said: "In football, our responsibility is to be professional. When you are professional, it's not to give your personal opinion. It's always dangerous when something happens like that.

"Maybe in the last few weeks or months, we know the football people who maybe don't behave like professionals.

"For me, if we want to keep healthy football in the future, and not to be cynical and dishonest, we need to behave in a different way."

Spurs' bid for a first league title since 1961 might be over but Pochettino said that there was work still to be done with the Gunners three points behind in third.

Spurs will be without key midfielders Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli as the pair serve suspensions accrued during the tense conclusion to their team's unsuccessful bid to catch Leicester.

Said Pochettino: "We want to keep second place. To finish in the top four is fantastic because this was our goal.

"We feel disappointed because it was a good opportunity to win the league but the way we fight, we can be proud of our players and we will fight next season."

Victory against his former club is not a given, despite Spurs yet to taste defeat against Southampton in seven meetings.

Ronald Koeman's side need four points to surpass 60 points for their best points total in the division, and he said: "We have beaten everybody at least once, only Tottenham we have not. It would be great to have a win this Sunday."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 08, 2016, with the headline 'Pochettino hits out at open support for Foxes'. Print Edition | Subscribe