Thursday 14 December 2017

Pochettino unhappy with ref treatment

Mauricio Pochettino felt Southampton deserved at least one penalty against Everton
Mauricio Pochettino felt Southampton deserved at least one penalty against Everton

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes officials have treated his side unfairly this season due to their young, friendly image.

Much has been made of Saints' attractive free-flowing style and their focus on nurturing homegrown talent, with eight of their starting XI in Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Everton eligible for England.

Three of those players are teenagers from the club's famed academy - an admirable philosophy but one manager Pochettino feels is costing his side.

The former Argentina international was irked by referee Mark Clattenburg's failure to award his side two penalties at Goodison Park and believes those decisions are just the tip of the iceberg.

"I was angry about some of the refereeing decisions," Pochettino said.

"There was not one, but actually two clear penalties not given to us.

"We have been suffering all season long. Many injustices have gone against us. It is easier to referee a Southampton side that are all young, friendly players. It is very easy to have decisions not go for us. It is a lot easier to have decisions to go against us.

"We just want Southampton to be refereed with the same rigour as all other clubs are judged.

"We want the same treatment as all other clubs. Nothing better, nothing worse - just the same.

"We don't want to be judged by the young, handsome players that we have. We don't want to be judged in that sense.

"We want to be judged in the same manner, being judged by the same rigour, in the same way that all other clubs are. We just want it to be fair, basically."

Pochettino was quick to reject the notion that his players need to show a nastier streak and laughed off the old saying 'nice guys never win'.

"I said that we seem to be good people, not that we are," he said.

"We can be a***holes as well."

There is certainly a dollop of attitude within the Southampton ranks, of which the eccentric Dani Osvaldo is a prime example.

The Italy international arrived at St Mary's in a club record deal in the summer with a history of alleged bad behaviour.

Osvaldo has been relatively well behaved since moving from Roma, but has not featured for Saints since being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

The forward was reprimanded following an altercation towards the end of the 1-1 draw at Newcastle, but Pochettino insists his absence is not discipline-related and revealed the club have appealed the charge.

"Yes, the club appealed," Pochettino said, speaking ahead of the New Year's Day clash with Chelsea.

"If we want to defend our player it is because we believe our player deserves to be defended.

"We will see today the progress of Osvaldo. He picked up a knock against Newcastle and then (had) an illness, so hasn't been able to train for the last 15 days."

While Osvaldo might be available, Saints will definitely be without Artur Boruc and Victor Wanyama for the match that once more pits Pochettino against an old friend.

Jose Mourinho was amongst those to advise the former Espanyol boss to take the St Mary's hotseat in January and won their only previous Premier League duel 3-1 at the start of the month.

"Our mentality never changes, our mentality is always to win the next game," Pochettino added.

"That's what we focus on regardless of who we play or where we are playing.

"On Wednesday we are going to be facing Chelsea who are one of the best in England, one of the best in Europe probably, but our focus doesn't change.

"We want to be 100 per cent focused on attack, 100 per cent focused on defence and get the win."

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