Mauricio Pochettino says Juventus dark arts a huge lesson for Tottenham

• Spurs manager says Juve chief executive put pressure on referee
• Juventus ‘have the habit to win’ while ‘we were very nice people’

Mauricio Pochettino says Juventus are “specialists” in football’s dark arts as he described how they put pressure on the referee at half-time in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg at Wembley.

The Tottenham Hotspur manager, who watched his team lose 2-1 for a 4-3 aggregate exit, said he saw Giuseppe Marotta in the tunnel during the interval and that the Juventus chief executive had complained to the Polish official, Szymon Marciniak.

Marotta and the rest of the Juventus party were incensed at Marciniak’s decision to ignore a stonewall penalty for Douglas Costa in the 17th minute, following a challenge from Jan Vertonghen. It is understood there were angry scenes and Marotta was not the only Juventus executive to confront Marciniak. Pochettino’s assistant, Jesús Pérez, described how Marotta had left “three minutes before half-time” to put himself in the way of the players, staff and officials. Before the teams emerged for the second half TV footage showed that four Juventus players continued the protest to Marciniak.

Pochettino, who mentioned that he saw the Juventus owner, Andrea Agnelli, in the tunnel, said it was “two games against this type of club – one on the pitch; one outside it”. He felt his team had more than held their own in footballing terms but they were second best on the other side. Pochettino did not criticise Juventus for their efforts to gain an edge; rather, he said they had given Tottenham “a massive lesson in how to behave”.

“We saw how the sporting director [meaning Marotta] put pressure on the referee at half-time,” Pochettino said. “He was in the corridor. They were complaining about the penalty. Maybe we need to learn how we put pressure on the referee. In this type of game every minimal detail can help you to win.”

Pochettino was asked whether the Juventus defender, Andrea Barzagli, should have been sent off for stamping on Heung-min Son in the 33rd minute. “We complained,” Pochettino said. “We put pressure on the referee but it was easy for the referee to manage us because we were very nice people, trying to help to play a game. In this situation, with experience, you have more possibilities to achieve all that you want. That is another game. It’s not only the game playing football.”

Pochettino felt that the second half – which his team had started 1-0 up – featured “many fouls that weren’t fouls”. He said Juventus had increased the tempo by starting “the game with the ball moving, players inside the box on goal-kicks – in the Premier League, this doesn’t happen.”

He added: “Juventus are specialists because they have the habit to win and the habit to put pressure on the referee. It’s a club with a culture to try to do everything to help the team. It’s the small details and I believe those details can help us to achieve what we want.”


David Hytner

The GuardianTramp

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