Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino’s Spurs put on show for Maradona, Kobe

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Post writers, us included, were drawn to Liverpool’s continued defensive woes following Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-1 demolition of the Reds at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

With Jurgen Klopp‘s personality and post-match quotes regarding uncapitalized goat Dejan Lovren, that’s understandable, but it would be a big mistake to not celebrate the class of Spurs on Sunday.

[ MORE: Match recap | Klopp, Matip reaction ]

Harry Kane is world class, scoring twice and providing a clever assist on another goal as Mauricio Pochettino‘s men showed the well-oiled nature of their machine.

And he was glowing on a match day that saw Kobe Bryant and one of Pochettino’s Argentine heroes, Diego Maradona, at Wembley:

“I spoke to Diego Maradona before the game, it was very emotional. He brings very good energy. He is the best player ever in football history.”

That the win is coming after a draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabeu is even more notable, considering the manners of each match. Hugo Lloris joined Kane as a star of the show of a more defensive-minded away midweek, but was merely a component as Spurs went for the jugular against the dicey defense of Liverpool.

Margins are small in the Premier League, but you could easily make an argument that Spurs are unlucky to sit five points behind Manchester City. Their star goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made gaffes in their lone league loss, to Chelsea, and a failure to finish myriad chances allowed Chris Wood‘s late goal to stand as an equalizer against Burnley.

“It is the third season that we are trying to catch someone. Manchester City are doing very well, they have an amazing squad and one of the best managers in the world. We see what happens, we believe, we will try to catch them. We are focused every day.

There’s another rough stretch ahead for Pochettino’s men, who don’t face City until Dec. 16. Presumably it’ll be second choice at West Ham in the League Cup this week before a trip to Old Trafford, and Spurs have the luxury of making that tough visit without fearing Paul Pogba on the other side of the pitch.

Then, it’s Real Madrid at home in the Champions League, a visit from Palace, and the international break. The North London Derby follows away, and Spurs will hope to have the UCL group sewn up before a trip to BVB days later.

The remaining schedule, save a trip to currently tricky Watford, would set them up to move within touching distance of City following the Dec. 16 match at the Etihad. The interim sees Man City facing Arsenal and Manchester United, so it wouldn’t be absurd to think Spurs could make up ground should City stumble (as unlikely as that looks right now).

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Pochettino furious over Guardiola’s “disrespectful” Kane comments

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Could there be a budding rivalry between Premier League managers?

It may not be at that point yet, but Mauricio Pochettino certainly didn’t take too kindly to recent comments made by his managerial counterpart at Manchester City.

[ MORE: Mourinho speaks ahead of big Man United-Liverpool clash ]

Man City boss Pep Guardiola referred to Tottenham as the “Harry Kane team” prior to the international break, which Pochettino saw as “disrespectful,” despite the former considering Spurs legitimate title contenders alongside the Cityzens, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Pochettino didn’t hesitate to make his unhappiness known ahead of this weekend’s clash against Bournemouth.

“It was funny when I heard him the other day because I know Pep very well. When it’s exciting after an amazing victory against Chelsea, sometimes [he] can struggle to keep his position and be a gentleman,” Pochettino said.

“That didn’t affect me but the reality is it was very disrespectful for many people and it’s difficult to understand because he was part of the big success at Barcelona with Messi at his best, and I never said it was ‘the Messi team.’ I always said it was Barcelona or Pep Guardiola.”

The Spurs manager quickly turned his attention to the rest of his squad, which he feels has done a fantastic job thus far in the early going of the 2017/18 Premier League season.

Tottenham currently sits third in England’s top flight on 14 points in seven matches, trailing leaders Man City and Man United by five points.

“I think everyone deserves to be recognised as part of the success of the team. But I think many people took those words as very disrespectful for the club, and for many players here I think it’s a strange situation. Personally I didn’t take it in a bad way. It wasn’t disrespectful for myself. Only I express my feeling that, for a lot of people, it wasn’t necessary to say that.

“But I think we need to move on. For me, Harry Kane is one of the best strikers — it doesn’t change anything. And it’s important that our position is clear, to be calm and not be aggressive with our opponents. Our responsibility is massive. But I think it’s important to respect every single opinion and I respect his opinion.

“I think everyone knows how Tottenham is, how Manchester City, how was Barcelona, how Argentina is. It’s a collective sport. Everyone needs to do his job. Of course sometimes it’s difficult, because in the media the temptation is to be focused on some players.

Mauricio Pochettino warns Dele Alli after latest dive

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Mauricio Pochettino has a warning for Dele Alli after the Tottenham Hotspur star was booked for simulation in the 4-0 win at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

In the second half Alli closed in on goal with Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl coming off his line. The England international then went down and looked to have initiated the contact.

Referee Neil Swarbrick promptly showed Alli a yellow card for the dive and Mauricio Pochettino went into full “disappointed father mode” as he stood on the sidelines shaking his head.

After the game Pochettino had a warning for Alli.

“I didn’t see it, it was difficult from my position. But if it was like this, he needs to learn. He must learn. Because this type of action doesn’t help him, doesn’t help the team and doesn’t help football,” Pochettino said. “We have talked in the last few years about fair play and being honest. I think he’s improving a lot, but still it’s something he has to learn about.”

Dele Alli is no stranger to taking a tumble and it is easy to forgot that one of the rising stars of the Premier League, and Europe, is still only 21 years old.

Still, he should listen to this message from his manager loud and clear.

Alli will sit out England’s first game of their international break after being banned one-game by FIFA for a middle-finger gesture in their recent World Cup qualifying win over Slovakia in September.

With his past of red cards for bad challenges and off-the-ball incidents, he still has a lot of work to do to curb his nasty streak.

Premier League Preview: Huddersfield Town vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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  • First meeting in nearly 35 years
  • Town leads all-time 16W-13D-11L
  • Spurs unbeaten in five

Two old rivals meet Saturday when Huddersfield Town hosts Tottenham Hotspur at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

By old, we mean they haven’t regularly met since Led Zeppelin released “Houses of the Holy.”

[ MORE: Klopp “can’t shoot from the bench” ]

So, yes, Huddersfield Town hasn’t beaten Spurs since 1956, but that’s a span of five matches and the last one came in 1973.

Town manager David Wagner says the plan is to drag Spurs into a street fight.

“We want to pull them down to our level on Saturday and then neutralize their offensive abilities,” he said Friday.

Town is eighth with nine points, three back of fourth place Spurs.

What they’re saying

Huddersfield Town boss Wagner on Spurs“I take confidence from our working and fighting attitude and from the atmosphere created from our fans in the stands. Our one small advantage is our supporters; they have to be behind us from the first whistle. This is the first time we meet an opponent with this quality; it’s the next step & we are excited to see if we can make the step.”

Spurs’ Mauricio Pochettino on playmaker Christian Eriksen“From day one, Christian has been a very consistent player for us. I’m so happy with him. In his position, he’s one of the best and as a player, he fits so well into our philosophy. He’s so young and we believe he can improve. Like Harry, he’s showing very good performances every week.”

Prediction

The Terriers have proven tough to break down, and Spurs did have to contend with a midweek match away from England. This could be closer than expected, but expect Dele Alli to be the difference in a 2-0 win.

Pochettino: “We did everything to win,” but more Wembley woes

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It’s the running stat that will haunt Tottenham Hotspur all season — for as long as their shoddy form at Wembley Stadium (in the Premier League, at least) continues: Mauricio Pochettino‘s side has already dropped more points at home this season (7) than all of last season (4).

[ PL ROUNDUP: Man City unstoppable; Liverpool, Spurs held ]

Saturday’s scoreless draw with Swansea City, in which Pochettino’s side fired 26 shots and put eight on target but ultimately failed to break down Paul Clement‘s resolute defensive unit, was but the latest disappointing at Tottenham’s temporary home ground — quotes from the BBC:

“Very disappointing because we did everything to win. We created chances and dominated the game but were a little unlucky.

“I am happy with the performance although it is another game we draw here at Wembley and that is no good.

“I like to talk about my team, we created a lot of chances to score. It is true after the draw to say well done to Swansea and congratulate them for taking a draw.”

It’s probably worth noting that 1) Harry Kane smashed the crossbar with Spurs’ best chance of the game — one he buries 99 times out of 100, post-August; 2) Lukasz Fabianski put in a man-of-the-match performance in goal; 3) referee Mike Dean was woeful and denied Spurs one, if not two, clear-cut penalties — the last of which points Serge Aurier, the player who was deemed to have handled the ball inside Swansea’s box (he didn’t) and was then tripped from behind, was quick to point out in his post-game interview:

“It is so clear. What is not clear why Mike Dean justify in front of our players that it was handball but it was not handball. If you are not sure about the situation then why say it was handball? It was unlucky but we need to look at ourselves and try to be better next time and score before this situation.

“It was unlucky for us. We did not get the one penalty we deserved. In that situation the referee had a no good afternoon.”