Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insists racism is “the worst thing in the world” and wants fans to stamp out bad behaviour ahead of Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final at Arsenal.
The Premier League north London derby at Emirates Stadium earlier this month proved to be a highly charged affair both on and off the field.
Arsenal came from 2-1 down to run out 4-2 winners but the occasion was marred by Gunners striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having a banana skin thrown at him when he celebrated a goal.
The incident led to a supporter being charged by the Metropolitan Police and banned by Tottenham.
A week later, Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling was the victim of alleged racist abuse during his side’s defeat to Chelsea and Pochettino believes this is no time to be partisan around such a serious issue.
“Our fans, Arsenal fans, Chelsea fans, around the world – we need to celebrate for us,” he told reporters.
“I don’t care if it is Arsenal fans, Argentina fans, Tottenham fans, Espanyol or Barcelona fans. I am against this type of situation.
“For me it [racism] is the worst thing in the world and that is why I am completely against this behaviour.
“I don’t want to be populist – I don’t care whether it is our fans or other fans, I want to kill [the bad behaviour and racism].
“For me it is like this. Our responsibility is to behave like this.”
Arsenal’s players possibly fanned fan hostility by posting numerous celebratory social media images after they downed Spurs but Pochettino has no problems with such behaviour – largely because he expects similar from his squad if they reach the semi-finals.
“It’s normal. When we won, we put selfies of ourselves too,” he added.
“Of course it hurt a little bit because it’s a derby, but if we win we’re going to do the same.
“They want to show their fans their happiness, but that is fair enough.”
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