As things stand right now, Mauricio Pochettino will be in the stands for Tottenham Hotspur’s match against Southampton this Saturday at St. Mary’s. Spurs received word on Tuesday that the Football Association has suspended Pochettino for two matches and fined him £10,000 for his involvement in a post-match altercation with Mike Dean after the club’s 2-1 loss to Burnley on February 23. This would keep Poch off the touchline for both this weekend’s match at Southampton and the following match at Liverpool.
Multiple outlets are reporting that Tottenham club officials are furious about the punishment, which they consider outrageously harsh and a double-standard considering what other Premier League managers like Jurgen Klopp and Nuno Espirito Santo have received for similar infractions this season. Both Klopp and Santo have had altercations or have criticized match officials publicly and escaped with a warning and a hefty fine. Pochettino had already publicly apologized for his role in the incident and indicated that he also wanted to apologize to Dean directly.
In his pre-match press conference today, Pochettino was asked about the FA’s decision and whether the club would appeal, with Poch admitting that he’s considering it.
“I am in shock. I still think it’s unfair. I can do nothing. I still need to see the reasons but the letter has still not arrived. I am suspended for two games.
“I think we were waiting [to make a decision about appeal] until after Wednesday for the letter from the FA, but it’s still not arrived. I’m so curious to see why they decided to do what they did. A two game ban is completely unfair and I want to see why and then talk a bit more.”
He’s not wrong. While the exact details of what was said between Dean and Pochettino after the Burnley match haven’t come out (neither Dean nor Pochettino have commented on the matter), there’s enough circumstantial evidence from what we saw on the television to cast some serious doubt as to the severity of what happened. What we do know is that this is Pochettino’s first infraction as a manager in the Premier League, and the FA has seen fit to put the hammer down hard for what feels like an unfair double-standard.
“This is my seventh season in England. You can see how I’ve behaved since day one. I was always a player, coach, who wanted to help the FA. Always try to behave in my best. I think always I was always so implicating to improve everything.
“It’s my first time here when I’m not completely right in my behavior but I feel that it’s too much. I feel a bit sad with the punishment. I need to wait and see what they put on the letter and the reason to ban me with two games. That is unbelievable no?”
The decision to appeal the suspension isn’t without risk. Should the FA uphold their original decision, it’s possible Pochettino’s touchline ban could be extended even further, even raising the possibility that Poch might be suspended for Tottenham’s first match in their new stadium. That’s maybe why the club is waiting for the written letter detailing the charges and the FA’s rationale for their decision before deciding whether or not to appeal.
The FA’s decision is stupid and overly harsh, but even so I almost expect that unless Spurs are very confident that they can successfully make their case on appeal that they might just reluctantly accept the decision and move on.