Friday 27 April 2018

Mauricio Pochettino warns against 'humiliating' opponents after Erik Lamela nutmeg goes viral

Erik Lamela
Erik Lamela

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Erik Lamela delighted Tottenham fans on Saturday with his nutmeg of Andros Townsend, but his manager Mauricio Pochettino was not as thrilled.

The clip of Lamela putting the ball through his former team-mate’s legs went viral on Saturday evening, not least because of Danny Rose’s incredulous reaction in the background. But when Pochettino was asked about it at his press conference on Thursday, he said that he did not especially enjoy the flamboyant side of the game. While he made sure not to criticise Lamela, Pochettino said that football was about beating the opponent, but not humiliating him.

“I understand the reaction of our fans, it’s a very good thing,” Pochettino said. “To be honest I don’t like this type of thing. I understand that the supporters enjoy it. I enjoy when my players score goals and win games. For me it was an action, but there is nothing more to say about it. It does not create any emotion in me. But I understand that it’s football and the supporters like this type of thing.”

Pochettino was a tough uncompromising centre-back in his day and his teams play dynamic, aggressive football. Flashy tricks and flicks do nothing for him. He never wants his players to be seen to be embarrassing opponents.

“It is part of football, but I enjoy it more when my players score goals than do this sort of action,” Pochettino said. “I understand Lamela’s game, and he is always trying things like this in training sessions. But for me, it is important to show respect to the opponent. I understand it is a part of the game but for me it is nothing to comment on or celebrate. I don’t like it when you try to humiliate your opponent. Lamela never tries to humiliate opponents, it’s just the way he plays. But it is nothing to celebrate.”

Pochettino was not averse to a bit of violence in his days at Newell’s Old Boys, Espanyol and Paris Saint Germain, and he said that he knew how to respond if anyone tried to nutmeg him. “That is just my point of view,” he said. “I accept it as a behaviour, though. People tried to nutmeg me when I was player, but they did it knowing that afterwards I would kill them.”

“One day, if we win a trophy or the Premier League, it will be time to celebrate. Or when we score a goal or win a game. Not for this type of action.”

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