Arsene Wenger announced on Thursday that Hector Bellerin will be out of action for a month, and placed the blame squarely on Tottenham defender Danny Rose. But Mauricio Pochettino is having none of it.
The Spanish right-back reportedly suffered an ankle injury in the dying seconds of last week’s North London derby after what Wenger characterized as “a very strong tackle” by Rose.
Pochettino responded to the accusation later on Thursday, defending his player and calling the comments “very strange.”
“I respect Arsene Wenger a lot ... But for me what happens on the pitch is never about bad intentions, it’s about football.
We are always aggressive in our play and sometimes things happen because football is very aggressive – it’s a contact sport, always. You cannot avoid the contact.
It is very strange, that comment, but I fully respect him.”
There is some history here. In 2014, Theo Walcott was on the receiving end of a pretty nasty challenge from Rose. Walcott suffered a knee ligament injury that kept out for a year and forced him to miss the World Cup (side note — that was the “2-0 gesture” game, because even when he’s the victim Walcott somehow manages to be insufferable).
Rose is fairly mild mannered and doesn’t strike me as a dirty player. And of course no Tottenham player would intentionally try to hurt an opponent...
As wars of words go, this is pretty tame, but it’s nice to hear Poche sticking up for his players when they come under fire, especially from Arsenal. Rose in particular has spoken out about his close relationship with the manager, while the other players apparently joke that he’s the “gaffer’s son.” If calling Wenger strange is how he backs up the lads, that’s totally ok with me.