Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino: No malice in Harry Kane and Dele Alli challenges at Manchester City
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Spurs manager confident his team can still finish in the Champions League places and is still hopeful they may be able to get back in the top-three
Mauricio Pochettino says there was no malice behind the horror tackles made by Spurs duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli during the heavy 4-1 defeat at Manchester City last weekend.
England internationals Kane and Alli were each shown yellow cards by referee Craig Pawson for their respective studs-up lunges on Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne during the heavy loss at the Etihad Stadium.
The pair are free to play against Burnley on Saturday after escaping red cards and subsequent suspensions as Spurs continue their search for a first Premier League away win since late September.
Despite admitting the challenges were mistimed, manager Pochettino insists neither player attempted to hurt an opponent.
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“Sometimes you arrive late and you make some tackles that are not so good,” the Argentinian coach said.
“When you play and don’t win, you are disappointed, frustrated and you try to change and sometimes you make a mistake and sometimes you arrive late; that is football.
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“But it wasn’t with bad intentions to try to injure someone. Never with bad intention, only because the result wasn’t good for us.
“Sometimes you want to do more, you want to run more, you want to tackle, you want to recover the ball and sometimes you arrive with bad timing but they are not aggressive in this way.
“I think they recognise the same that it was a specific moment but the most important thing is there was no intention to do something wrong.”
The defeat against leaders City was seventh-placed Spurs’ fifth of the campaign in the league and leaves them one spot below their weekend opponents ahead of the trip to Turf Moor.
Pochettino was keen to point out that Spurs are not far behind the points tally they had at this stage last year and said he still has high expectations for the rest of the season.
“No,” he replied when asked if he would accept a fourth-placed finish to retain a place in the Champions League.
“I am not a comfortable person. I love to take a risk. I am here because I love to take a risk. I feel that I am a winner.
“Sometimes the winner loses too and they need to lose to feel the pain.
“This season we had a similar start to last season. The only thing is maybe three points down but we are in (the) Champions League. And of course different circumstances, different everything, maybe some teams improve a lot from last season.
“I think we need to follow, keep going, believe, try to change the dynamic and try to win games, try to fight and we’ll see what happens.”