Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has hit out at the lack of professionalism from their Premier League rivals by publicly sharing their support for Leicester City.
Prior to his side’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Monday night which ended the Premier League title race, a trio of players from their London rivals had already insisted that they didn’t want Spurs to win the title.
As noted by Sky Sports, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Willian all pandered to the Chelsea supporters by revealing their preference, while West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis also noted in a press conference last month that he wanted to see the Foxes win the title.
While everyone has a right to have an opinion and a preference, the fact that so much was still at stake, particularly with Chelsea still to play both Tottenham and Leicester, it was undoubtedly inappropriate for the Chelsea players to share their thoughts regardless of rivalry.
In terms of fairness and competitiveness, any club official or player who has a preference for a certain club to succeed that isn’t their own will naturally be questioned, as it ultimately leaves them open to criticism and controversy.
In turn, Pochettino’s point is a valid one and it remains to be seen what impact it has moving forward following the reaction to Leicester’s triumph.
“Maybe in the next few meetings of the Premier League, the managers and also the staff, we need to say that in future we must be careful with all these comments in public,” he said as reported by Sky Sports.
“In football, our responsibility is to be professional. When you are professional, you do not give your personal opinion.
“If I support Tottenham and we play against some team which fights for the title, or to survive, then I can’t give my opinion like a supporter. I need to give my opinion like a professional. It’s always dangerous when something happens like that.
“Maybe in the last few weeks or months, we know the football people maybe don’t behave like professionals, we need to be careful.”
Pochettino will hope that comments made by their rivals will serve as motivation next season as they look to build on their progress this year and continue to move in the right direction.
The ‘Battle of the Bridge’ exposed some of their on-going flaws, but the experience will be seen as a learning curve while Chelsea ultimately got their wish and prevented their city rivals from staying in contention.
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