Friday 14 December 2018

Mauricio Pochettino accuses Jose Mourinho of 'destabilising' Eric Dier through transfer pursuit

Tottenham held on to Eric Dier amid Manchester United's interest. Getty
Tottenham held on to Eric Dier amid Manchester United's interest. Getty
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that Manchester United made approaches to sign Eric Dier last year, while also confirming he was annoyed by Jose Mourinho’s move to put the player in a ‘compromising position’ after a game at Old Trafford last December.

Making his comments in a book being serialised by the Mail, Pochettino confirmed that Dier ‘lost his focus’ after United made moves to sign him in the summer of 2016, yet it was Mourinho’s subsequent actions that appeared to infuriate the Spurs boss.

After Tottenham lost 1-0 at Old Trafford last season, Pochettino was disturbed to see Mourinho showing affection towards his players long after the final whistle.

“Mourinho and I had finished our interviews at Old Trafford and the players were doing their warm-down on the pitch. When Jose was done with the press, he stood by the entrance to the tunnel and regarded the returning players,” states Pochettino.

“He greeted Moussa Sissoko and hugged Dier. They passed by me en route to the dressing rooms, laughing, speaking in Portuguese. Maybe it is a common Mourinho tactic, but he put Eric in a compromising position. You cannot do that after a defeat.

“Are you friends with Mourinho?’ I asked him. ‘No, but I’ve known him a long time, from my time in Portugal... one of his godsons coached me. He always says hello.’

“I sat down with Eric after lunch on Monday and we chatted for four hours about the whole shebang: his agent, family, confusion.

“As for the Mourinho incident, ‘What could I have done?’ Eric asked me.

He told me about United’s interest since last summer [2016] and I explained the situation to him clearly.

“Ever since that conversation, Eric admits that he could have waited for Mourinho to be out of sight before heading to the dressing room.”

The Spurs boss went on to confirm he held lengthy talks with Dier to try get him back to his best after a dip in form, insisting he would not be sold to United.

“Eric told me about United’s interest since last summer [2016] and I explained the situation to him clearly,” he added.

“Look, you aren’t leaving because you signed a five-year deal with us in August. You’re among the highest-paid players at Tottenham at the age of 22. You’re important to us and you could become the best centre back in the Premier League.”

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