Dembele suspended 6 games for eye gouge

Pochettino explained that he had spoken to the 28-year-old about the incident, saying in Friday’s prematch news conference: “It’s impossible to not speak about it [with Dembele].

“Mousa knows like Dele Alli that when you cross the line, you need to pay. We cannot justify, but we understand. If we punish him [internally], it’s private. I never give public information if we do something.”

Pochettino also said Spurs “crossed the line” in Monday’s draw at Chelsea but said he is “proud” of his players for shedding the club’s “soft” image.

Dembele’s absence will be a blow to Spurs, who are already without the suspended Alli for their final two matches and need to win against either Southampton and Newcastle to all but guarantee second place and a first finish above rivals Arsenal since the 1994-95 season.

Spurs have also incurred an automatic £25,000 fine for picking up nine bookings at Stamford Bridge — a Premier League record — and both teams have been charged by the FA with failing to control their players.

The clubs have until 6 p.m. on Monday to respond to the charge and are expected to receive significant fines.

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