Mauricio Pochettino apologised to Manchester United for some overzealous Tottenham challenges during their Shanghai encounter.
United and Spurs continued their pre-season preparations in China as the Hongkou Stadium bore witness to a friendly that at times was anything but.
Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko were guilty of particularly poor challenges in the first half, as was United midfielder Andreas Pereira.
Nobody was hurt in those tackles but Pochettino felt the need to apologise to his United counterparts.
“I was a little bit annoyed about some situations, I was not happy,” the Tottenham head coach said.
“It was a friendly game and in some situations of course when you are tired, when it’s so hot you are not right with the tempo to arrive at the actions, sometimes you arrive late, and something can happen.
“I apologise on behalf of our players to Manchester United.
“It’s football. It wasn’t their intention, but sometimes when you are tired you arrive late and somethings can happen and I was worried because, in this period of preparation, sometimes you need to be aggressive and you need to play with passion, but sometimes the focus is to build your fitness and develop the way you want to play.
“Of course I was worried, Manchester United, Eric Bailly got injured and I am sorry for that, but he was alone and always when the players start to build their fitness and start to fight for their place in the team.
“When something happens in the pre-season it’s always tough and I was a little bit worried but in the second half the game was a bit more relaxed.”
Pochettino leaves Asia pleased with the way the tour went – and left reporters in no doubt about his stance on transfer talk and such matters.
The Argentinian refused to talk about chairman Daniel Levy’s comments upon the extension of AIA’s partnership earlier on Thursday and bristled when asked about Toby Alderweireld’s contract clause expiring.
“Like it was yesterday, I’m not going to talk,” he said.
“I’m going to work with the players at the end of the transfer market that the club is going to provide to us.
“Nothing to say about that.
“I am very focused on working with the players that we have, and the club provide us, the coaching staff, and try to help them to improve and work with the players who we are going to have at the end of the transfer market.”
#AIA today announced in Shanghai the extension of its Global Principal Partnership with @SpursOfficial until 2027. #AIASpurs#HealthierLongerBetterLives#TottenhamHotspur#COYSpic.twitter.com/Y4JYeqnIjO— AIA Press Office (@AIAGroup_Press) July 25, 2019
Once his answer had been translated, he added: “My position from now for the future so you know, otherwise every time…I’m not going to talk about signing players, selling players, extending the contract of the players or not extending the contract of the players.
“That is going to be all through the club to update you if they want.
“I’m not going to communicate or talk about that, I’m going to talk about managing the squad that we have.
“To make clear because in the future if you’re going to ask me it’ll be a little bit weird because I won’t answer because I don’t have the answer.”
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