Disciplinary issues take centre stage in Goodison clash

Serge Aurier in action for his former club Paris Saint-Germain. The defender will be expected to keep his nose clean at Tottenham, having been embroiled in a number of unsavoury incidents at the French club.
Serge Aurier in action for his former club Paris Saint-Germain. The defender will be expected to keep his nose clean at Tottenham, having been embroiled in a number of unsavoury incidents at the French club.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino has said that he is keen to draw a line under the Dele Alli middle-finger salute episode and the chequered past of Tottenham Hotspur's new signing Serge Aurier.

The manager was preparing for today's Premier League trip to Everton but there were disciplinary matters on the agenda for him, with Alli having attracted unwanted attention for his gesture during England's World Cup qualifying victory against Slovakia on Monday.

Fifa confirmed yesterday that it will open disciplinary proceedings against Alli.

If found guilty, he could be banned or fined or both.

Pochettino, however, defended his forward.

"I remember when I was a player, worse things happened on the pitch but today, there are a lot of cameras," he said. "I remember when I was at Newell's Old Boys, a striker spat at me and it all went in my mouth.

"Not one camera saw that. Dele doesn't deserve to be banned by Fifa."

BEHAVE OR ELSE

I said to him, 'I will kill you', I would headbutt him.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO, Tottenham manager, threatening to headbutt new signing Serge Aurier if he steps out of line.

The Argentinian may have controlled his anger well in his past but he also threatened to "headbutt" Aurier in future if he steps out of line, in a warning over the right-back's expected behaviour at the club.

He joined Spurs for £23 million (S$40 million) from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on deadline day.

The deal was held up as Tottenham's request for a work permit was complicated by the suspended two-month prison sentence Aurier received after an assault on a police officer outside a Paris nightclub in May last year.

The 24-year-old Ivorian was also suspended by PSG last year for making a homophobic slur against former coach Laurent Blanc.

Pochettino is a disciplinarian and insisted he will come down hard on Aurier if he steps out of line.

"I said to him, 'I will kill you', I would headbutt him," the Spurs boss said.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has his own disciplinary issues to deal with as well, but confirmed that striker Wayne Rooney will play despite a drink-driving charge hanging over the 31-year-old.

Rooney was arrested a week ago and has a court hearing on Sept 18 after being released on bail.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'Disciplinary issues take centre stage in Goodison clash'. Print Edition | Subscribe