The manager was preparing for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Everton but there were disciplinary matters on the agenda for him, with Alli having attracted unwanted attention for his gesture on international duty during England’s World Cup qualifying victory against Slovakia on Monday.
The TV cameras caught Alli raising his middle finger and there was the suggestion that it had been directed at the referee, the Frenchman Clément Turpin. Alli, however, has subsequently insisted it was aimed at Kyle Walker and was simply a light-hearted way of him making his point in a discussion with his friend and team-mate.
Pochettino has supported Alli’s stance and he does not expect Fifa to take the matter any further. “I’m not worried,” the Tottenham manager said. “Dele told the media afterwards it was a joke with Kyle Walker. There’s a lot of things worse than this situation. It’s true it’s not a fantastic gesture but it’s not a big issue. I don’t think it’ll be a big issue with Fifa or with us.
“I remember when I was a player, worse things happened on the pitch but today there are a lot of cameras – maybe 50 cameras – and we’re so focused on the players. I remember when I was at Newell’s Old Boys, a striker spat at me and it all went in my mouth. Not one camera saw that. My reaction was to kill the player. Dele doesn’t deserve to be banned by Fifa. It’s important to move on.”
Pochettino applied the same maxim to Aurier, who completed his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain on deadline day last week. Last season he was refused entry to the UK for a Champions League game against Arsenal because of a two‑month suspended prison sentence for the assault of a police officer but this was downgraded to a fine, which allowed him to apply successfully for a work permit. The Ivory Coast right-back has also been in trouble previously for having used homophobic language towards his former manager at PSG, Laurent Blanc.
“I spoke with him about different things before he signed but I’m a person that likes to move on,” Pochettino said. “As I’ve always said, I’m the first person to have made mistakes in my life and it’s important that we give people the opportunity to show they can learn and improve.
“Serge knows very well how we are and what we expect from him. For us, it’s so important how every player in the squad behaves. We need to keep the dynamic we have created. I trust him and I am confident he can succeed here.
“You always start to assess people from the day that you meet them. With Serge, we start from here. For him, it’s a new chapter in his life. It’s a big opportunity for him to show all that he has inside and the good player that he is. People always deserve another opportunity.”
Aurier has been on international duty with the Ivory Coast, playing in two World Cup qualifiers against Gabon – the second of which was on Tuesday – and he only reported for Tottenham duty on Thursday afternoon. As such, he is unlikely to be in the starting XI against Everton. Kieran Trippier is in line to play, having recovered from the injury that forced his withdrawal from the England squad.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010