Pep Guardiola has rejected Mauricio Pochettino’s accusation that the Manchester City boss was “disrespectful” towards Tottenham, insisting he has “made a mistake”
Pochettino said on Friday he is unhappy with Guardiola labelling Spurs “the Harry Kane team”, which he said after his side beat Chelsea and Tottenham beat Huddersfield in the last round of Premier League games.
Guardiola looked dejected and admitted he was “disappointed” after being told of Pochettino’s comments and defended his record of praising Tottenham’s progression over the past few seasons.
“I was never disrespectful to my colleague. I was never disrespectful in the press conference. Never,” Guardiola said ahead City’s clash with Stoke on Saturday.
“When I said ‘Harry Kane’s team’ it was for the fact he scores a lot of goals, and I know perfectly that Tottenham is not Harry Kane alone. I think last season, the guy that spoke the most, and appreciated the way they play, was me.
“When he lost against Chelsea in the (FA Cup) semi-finals (last season) I said it was incredible because Chelsea shot four times on the target and scored four goals. And I said Tottenham is one of the best teams.
“So I am a little bit disappointed if he said that. I don’t know what he said. But never I was disrespectful in that period about my colleagues.
I respect a lot what Tottenham have done in the last two or three years. They deserve a lot of credit in the way they play, and show to English Premier League football, always attacking. Last season they finished better than us. That means a lot.
“But it’s okay. I spoke many times with Mauricio. If he believes that, maybe I should just have said ‘Pochettino team’ instead of ‘Harry Kane’s team’. But I did it because he scored two more goals against Huddersfield.
“I think Mauricio has made a mistake. Never in my career here have I been disrespectful. Maybe I can answer when someone attacks my team, but never was I disrespectful about Mauricio or what Tottenham did.”