Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has suggested rival clubs are unprofessional to make clear their preference for Leicester winning the Premier League.
Spurs’ draw at Chelsea on Monday ensured Claudio Ranieri’s men will be crowned champions this weekend and they have been popular victors, completing their remarkable journey from relegation battlers to table-toppers in just 12 months.
While Tottenham tried to close the gap, however, a number of opponents expressed their backing for Leicester’s title bid, with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, West Brom manager Tony Pulis and Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross just some of those to speak out before matches against Spurs.
Pochettino had previously insisted such talk was not a problem but after overseeing Monday’s fractious game at Stamford Bridge, in which Hazard scored the equaliser which confirmed the destination of the title, the Argentinian was less sympathetic towards the band of Foxes supporters.
“In football, our responsibility is to be professional,” Pochettino said. “When you are professional, you do not give your personal opinion.
“If I support Tottenham and we play against some team which fights for the title, or to survive, then I can’t give my opinion like a supporter.
“I need to give my opinion like a professional. It’s always dangerous when something happens like that.
“Maybe in the last few weeks or months, we know the football people maybe don’t behave like professionals, we need to be careful.
“Maybe in the next few meetings of the Premier League, the managers and also the staff, we need to say that in future we must be careful with all these comments in public.”
Mousa Dembele has been banned for six matches after accepting a Football Association charge of violent conduct, having appeared to claw his fingers down the cheek of Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
Pochettino was himself drawn into the fracas as he twice acted as peacemaker when two brawls erupted, in the first half and at the full-time whistle.
The Argentinian confirmed he spoke to Chelsea captain John Terry after the match.
“We had a discussion on the pitch during the game. After he came and apologised and nothing happened,” Pochettino said.
“We shook hands and we were very calm after the game.”