Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino says touchline ban is ‘completely unfair’

• Spurs manager in ‘shock’ after receiving two-match suspension
• Dele Alli in contention to play at Southampton on Saturday

Mauricio Pochettino has described his “shock” at receiving a two-game touchline ban and £10,000 fine from the Football Association for his conduct following the 2-1 defeat at Burnley last month.

The Tottenham manager furiously confronted the referee, Mike Dean, after the game and will consequently watch their next two matches – away fixtures at Southampton on Saturday and Liverpool on 31 March – from the directors’ boxes at St Mary’s and Anfield. But Pochettino outlined his disappointment at the sanction, of which he was informed on Tuesday, and will assess the governing body’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.

“I know very well that it wasn’t the idea to appeal, because in my mind it wasn’t a big deal. 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.”

Pochettino 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. 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 try to help the referees and football, and always to try and improve our game. It’s my first time here that I’m maybe not completely right in my behaviour but I feel this is too much. I feel a little sad and disappointed with the punishment. I need to wait see [their] reasons to ban me for two games. It’s unbelievable, no?”

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Assistant manager Jesus Perez, first-team coach Miguel D’Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez will be left to direct from the touchline, with Pochettino communicating by walkie-talkie. “This type of [punishment], I think it’s not very proportionate, it’s exaggerated,” he said, but he did not expect to be a frustrated onlooker. “You know during the game how I am on the touchline, I am so relaxed. I’m not going to change because I am in the stand. Of course I’m going to behave.”

Pochettino admitted he “cried a lot” when he left Southampton for Spurs in May 2014, but could be cheered on Saturday by the return of Dele Alli from his hamstring injury. Kieran Trippier is likely to miss out with a gluteal muscle strain, though, while Harry Winks is struggling with the groin complaint that cut short his part in the 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund. Winks’ place in the England squad to face Czech Republic and Montenegro could be jeopardised and Pochettino made no secret of his wish for the player to receive a break.

“It [would be] fantastic to have the chance to, but I don’t know what decision the English national team or manager is going to take,” he said. “But we are going to assess [on Friday] and then I think we can talk.”


Nick Ames

The GuardianTramp

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