Ban completely unfair: Pochettino

Spurs boss to sit out games against Saints and Liverpool; insists he 'behaves his best'

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino is shocked at receiving a two-game touchline ban and a £10,000 (S$17,800) fine for his conduct following the 2-1 Premier League defeat at Burnley last month.

The Tottenham manager confronted referee Mike Dean after the game and will consequently watch their next two matches from the directors' boxes - at his former club Southampton today and Liverpool on March 31.

He outlined his disappointment at the sanction, of which he was informed on Tuesday, and will assess the Football Association's written explanation before deciding whether to appeal.

"I am a little bit in shock because I think it's completely unfair," he said. "But what can I do now? Nothing. We still don't know the reasons because the letter (of explanation) still hasn't arrived.

"Of course it wasn't the best way to complain or talk with the referee, but I never expected this type of situation. That, for me, is not fair. I need to see the reasons why, and then we'll see what happens."

The Argentinian said his punishment for a first major offence since arriving in England six years ago does not reflect the attitude he has shown in that time.

"It's my seventh season in England and you can see my behaviour from day one, talking in public and private," he added.

"I was a coach, a manager, a person who wanted to help the Premier League and the FA; someone who tried to understand and behave my best to help the referees.

"It's my first time here that I'm maybe not completely right in my behaviour, but I feel this is too much."

Assistant manager Jesus Perez, first-team coach Miguel D'Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez will be directing from the touchline today, with Pochettino communicating by walkie-talkie.

On a more positive note, Dele Alli could return today after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Kieran Trippier is likely to miss out with a gluteal muscle strain, while Harry Winks is struggling with the groin complaint that cut short his involvement in the 1-0 midweek win at Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.

Asked about Ralph Hasenhuttl's progress since he was appointed as Saints boss in December, Pochettino said: "My wish is for Southampton to finish in a very good way. He is doing a very good job.

"Of course I want to beat them but I wish them all the best."

His team are winless in their last three league games, having drawn with Arsenal after successive defeats at Burnley and Chelsea.

They are three points ahead of fourth-placed Manchester United (58 points), with Arsenal (57) and Chelsea (56) close behind.

The Saints, on 27 points, are two better off than 18th-placed Cardiff in the fight against relegation.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2019, with the headline 'Ban completely unfair: Pochettino'. Print Edition | Subscribe