Mauricio Pochettino has refused to judge Maurizio Sarri for his decision to criticise his Chelsea players in public.
Sarri accused his squad of being “extremely difficult to motivate” after their 2-0 Premier League defeat to Arsenal last Saturday.
The comments have somewhat overshadowed Chelsea’s preparations for their EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, when they will attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.
Pochettino, though, says it is not for him to evaluate the methods of another manager.
“I cannot judge the words of a different manager. It’s his business and Chelsea’s business,” the Spurs boss told a news conference.
“We are talking about one subject. Every manager can have their opinion and it’s not my job to judge. What they are doing at a different club is their business and you need to respect that. It’s like here. For many people that don’t have the real situation that happens inside, [they] can talk.”
Chelsea are likely to face Spurs without Gonzalo Higuain, with Sarri confirming on Wednesday that is was “impossible” to have completed a loan deal for the striker before the 12:00 GMT deadline that would allow him to play in Thursday’s game.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 23, 2019
But Pochettino expects a tough test regardless of who features in attack for the Blues.
“I don’t know what is going on but if he arrived in time to play, it’s going to be nice to see him,” he said.
“Gonzalo is a top player like [Alvaro] Morata, or [Olivier] Giroud. For me, one or another that is going to play against us, it’s going to be tough because we are playing a very good team in Chelsea.”
Spurs will be without the injured Harry Kane and Dele Alli, as well as Son Heung-min, who is on Asian Cup duty with South Korea.
However, Pochettino confirmed Moussa Sissoko and Lucas Moura could be fit for the match, while Victor Wanyama is in contention to face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Sunday.
“We need to be positive, like with Harry Kane,” he said of Alli, who has a hamstring problem. “We’re going to miss him for a long period, I think in one of the worst moments because we have a busy fixture [schedule], but you know that for us the squad is so important and it’s a good opportunity for a different player to step up.
“For tomorrow [Thursday], Sissoko and Lucas are in contention. For Wanyama, we’ll see if it’s possible for the weekend. It’s very good news in the last few days to recover Mousa and Lucas and Wanyama is so close.”
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