Mauricio Pochettino accused Pep Guardiola of being disrespectful after the Manchester City manager claimed Harry Kane’s prolific form is the only reason for Tottenham Hotspur’s success.
Kane has scored 11 goals in his last six appearances for Spurs to keep Pochettino’s side in touch with Premier League leaders City.
The 24-year-old also scored England’s winning goals in their recent World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania.
Speaking during the international break, City boss Guardiola said: “We saw again the Harry Kane team scores every day two or three goals”.
Pochettino didn’t take kindly to Guardiola’s taunt and the Tottenham manager hit back by pointing out that goals from Lionel Messi were the driving force behind the Spaniard’s trophy-laden spell at Barcelona.
“That didn’t affect me but the reality is it was very disrespectful for many people,” Pochettino said on Friday.
“It’s difficult to understand because he was part of the big success at Barcelona with 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.”
‘Not right in football’
Tottenham, who host Bournemouth on Saturday, trail City by five points in the Premier League.
City consolidated pole position with an impressive win at champions Chelsea before the international period and Pochettino suggested that result might have sparked Guardiola’s Kane comment.
“When it’s exciting after an amazing victory against Chelsea, sometimes he can struggle to keep his position and be a gentleman,” Pochettino said.
“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.”
Asked if he had spoken to Guardiola personally, Pochettino added: “No, of course not. He hasn’t called me yet.
“Maybe after the press conference he calls me. I’m sure I will reply.”