Pep Guardiola has refused to repeat his jibe at Tottenham suggesting they were a ‘Harry Kane team’ at the risk of making Mauricio Pochettino “grumpy” again. The Manchester City head coach was in a tetchy mood after watching his side lose 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, with Kane making the difference with the winning goal.
It was Kane who once again did the damage to Guardiola some 18 months after the City head coach desperately tried to sign the Spurs talisman, scuffing home his effort past Ederson in the first half.
And it was enough to secure all three points for the north London side, who are still yet to concede to City at their £1billion arena. Kane also celebrated becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, surpassing Jimmy Greaves on 267 goals.
Tottenham have proved to be Guardiola’s kryptonite since taking charge of City and the Catalan was left similarly frustrated by his side’s inability to convert possession into goals on Sunday, even with Antonio Conte absent as the Italian is recovering from having gallbladder removal surgery.
But the 52-year-old still had some room for a spicy comment after the game, bizarrely suggesting he would not label Spurs a team that relies heavily on Kane at the risking of annoying their former boss Pochettino, who was sacked in 2019.
“I’m not going to say the Harry Kane team otherwise Pochettino will be grumpy and I don’t want it,” Guardiola told reporters in a news conference.
“But on behalf of Manchester City, I can say congratulations on this incredible milestone. He is an exceptional player.”
The origin of Guardiola’s thinly-veiled jab to Pochettino relates to when the Argentine – currently out of work after leaving PSG – was in charge of the north London side back in 2017.
Spurs were rated as title contenders after challenging Leicester in the 2016-17 campaign and Kane finished the season as the Golden Boot winner with 29 goals in 30 games. Guardiola suggested that Kane was the reason behind Tottenham’s rise under Pochettino, labelling them “the Harry Kane team”.
“Of course this season has a little more problems because they play every three days, that’s always more complicated for all the teams,” he said at the time. “But we also have United, we saw again the Harry Kane team scores every day two or three goals.”
As many would expect, Pochettino reacted with a passionate defence and accused Guardiola of lacking respect for his team.
“I know Pep very well and when he is excited, after an amazing victory against Chelsea, sometimes he struggles to keep his position and be a gentleman,” Pochettino said.
“The situation didn’t affect me but, in reality, it was very disrespectful for many people. 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.
“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.”
It remains to be seen whether Pochettino would consider reacting to Guardiola’s latest pop at the Argentinian, but the Man City boss has bigger problems to be concerned about after seeing his side fail to take advantage of Arsenal’s defeat on Saturday, leaving them five points adrift in the title race.
Leave a Reply