So a couple of weeks ago Pep Guardiola caused a bit of a kerfluffle in the Tottenham Hotspur media when he referred to Tottenham as “the Harry Kane team who scores every game two or three goals.” The comment came while referencing other teams that could potentially challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this season.
The media all had a good chuckle about that in the papers. But you know who wasn’t laughing? Mauricio Pochettino.
“It was funny when I heard him the other day because I know Pep very well. When it’s exciting after an amazing victory against Chelsea, sometimes [he] can struggle to keep his position and be a gentleman.
"I take that situation, that didn’t affect me but the reality is it was very disrespectful for many people and it’s difficult to understand because he was part of the big success at Barcelona with [Lionel] Messi at his best, and I never said it was ‘the Messi team’ - I always said it was Barcelona or Pep Guardiola.
“I think everyone deserves to be recognised as part of the success of the team. But I think many people took those words as very disrespectful for the club, and for many players that are here I think it’s a strange situation.
“In my case personally I didn’t take it in a bad way. It wasn’t disrespectful for myself.”
As someone who regularly forgets even the most basic of details about people’s names and the like when speaking in public, I guess I sympathize with Pep a small bit. I figured he had a brain fart, and wasn’t expressly trying to be disrespectful to Spurs or to the rest of the Harry Kane Team. Besides, I don’t usually associate Guardiola with mind games in the same way I do, say, Jose Mourinho.
But maybe it was intentional! It could very well be that Pep was giving a backhanded compliment to Spurs with those comments. But that’d be kind of dumb, considering that Spurs also have players like Christian Eriksen, Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, and Dele Alli in the squad who can all make a claim to be at our around the same level of ability.
Poch certainly didn’t seem to think it was a mistake.
"I think it's a sad comment because the players laugh about that. If you're a manager you must show more, no? To be above this type of comment.
"That is my opinion like I respect his opinion but I think the players, more motivated or less motivated? I think it's the same. It's sad and it's not right in football. Today we want to show respect, fair play and everything."
I dunno. That obviously got under Poch’s skin, but I think it was sort of a nothing comment from Pep. But hey, maybe it was a motivational technique from Poch to keep his team on the front foot as they begin a really intense string of games. Tottenham travels to the Etihad to face off against City for the first time since the preseason on December 16.