Pochettino was asked whether he had spoken to Guardiola about the comment. “No,” Pochettino replied. “He didn’t call me … yet. Maybe after this press conference, he will call me. I am sure that he will be glad to. I would be happy to talk to him. Of course. We have a very good relationship. We have a lot of friends. Mikel Arteta, Lorenzo Buenaventura, Edu Mauri – people that are on his staff [at City] are very good friends of mine from before they worked for him. It’s a sad comment. He’s a great manager, one of the best managers in the world, so why make that comment? It doesn’t help him. It’s not a good thing for anyone.”
“It’s difficult to understand because Pep was part of the big success at Barcelona, when it was Messi at his best. And I never said it was the Messi team. I always said it was Barcelona and it was Pep Guardiola. I think everyone deserves to be recognised as being part of the success of the team.
“We need to move on. For me, Harry Kane is one of the best strikers. It doesn’t change anything for me. And I think it’s important that our position is [to] be clear, be calm, not be aggressive with our opponent. Our responsibility is massive. But I think it’s important to respect every single opinion and I respect his opinion.”
“I think that many people took his words as very sad and disrespectful to the club. And for many players that are here – it’s a strange situation. Personally I didn’t take it in a bad way. It wasn’t disrespectful to me. I only express my feeling that, for a lot of people, it was unnecessary to say that.
Pochettino made the point that, when discussing the title contenders, Guardiola had mentioned Manchester United by name and then, in the next breath, called Tottenham “the Harry Kane team”. He added: “He could have called United ‘the Lukaku team’ in the same way. It was very disrespectful to our club. If it was a mistake [by Guardiola], then I am more sad because he is a very clever person. He is not where he is because he’s stupid.”