Mauricio Pochettino | Photo: Sky Sports
Mauricio Pochettino apologised to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, referee Anthony Taylor and the officials for “crossing the limit” at the end of Chelsea’s thrilling draw with the Premier League champions.
A stoppage-time penalty from former City academy graduate Cole Palmer clinched a draw for Chelsea, but Pochettino was furious that Taylor blew the full-time whistle when he felt Raheem Sterling, another goalscorer, had been fouled.
Chelsea head coach Pochettino was booked for his reaction in which he stormed towards Taylor and had to be restrained by some of his backroom staff, as he forgot to shake hands with Guardiola on the touchline.
“I need to apologise to Anthony and the referees and the fourth official,” said Pochettino. “In this moment, I felt that maybe Raheem could go through and score the fifth. When the game finished, I turned and said ‘what the …?’ You know, what’s going on. I said ‘why stop in this moment, the action’.
“Then I turned and said: ‘I deserve, I deserve to be booked’. Because I crossed the limit, so I want to apologise because it’s not a good image for me and for football, this type of behaviour.”
Asked about forgetting to shake Guardiola’s hand, Pochettino added: “Yes, I want to apologise to him also because at this moment I didn’t see. Only I was focused on this action. So I want to apologise to Pep also.”
Guardiola was unconcerned by Pochettino’s lapse, saying: “No, no it’s not a problem. I don’t want to say one word about that. It’s fine. Everyone, the emotions, it happens to me sometimes. It’s fine. I don’t want you to misunderstand me, when in the past, it [things] happened with Pochettino. It’s fine. Completely, completely fine.”
“We did not accept the decision,” said Pochettino. “It was the opinion of the Var, as I have said before against Tottenham or when various coaches were complaining, and that is the opinion of somebody who is sitting in a room with cameras. I don’t know what I can tell you. Sometimes it is for you, sometimes it is against you.”
Chelsea trailed in the game three times before drawing 4-4 and Pochettino was delighted by the character of his team, who are now unbeaten in games against Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and City.
“We showed the character, showed the mentality, showed that we also have tools against a team like Manchester City that we can go for the goal and to dominate and to have the capacity to create chances,” said Pochettino.
“I think it’s really important today. Like I told you, Monday [after the victory over Tottenham], maybe it’s the point to start building our confidence and to believe in the way we are working. Now it’s about how we will compete in the future.
“We are still far away in terms of being in the distance in the table. But now there is a different noise in the stadium and this kind of performance we can really use for the future.
“We need to be cautious, though. Although today was a massive occasion and the fans and the crowd were amazing, we also need fans to be excited whenever we have teams here.”
Guardiola was impressed by Chelsea and highlighted the fact his team still top the Premier League table by one point, despite losing their lead so late on.
“Always, I give credit to the opponent,” said Guardiola. “They played really well and everyone wants to beat us because you know what happened in the past.
“There’s nothing to lose for them. If Chelsea lose against City, people will say it’s normal. That isn’t the reality, always Chelsea at Stamford Bridge has been tough since I came to this country, since I was in Barcelona, in Bayern Munich. Always really tough.
“So why not give credit to Chelsea? What they have done in the market is to do that. They will be there this season and for sure future seasons because they are built for that. We are top of the League and qualified already for the Champions League knockout stage.
“It’s not normal, 4-4. Usually we control more, but I can’t remember a game when we came here and had the chances that we had. Even the games we won 1-0 and even last year’s game was much worse than we played today by a million times. We created a lot of chances and sometimes you cannot control. Their shape is really good. They have speed and quality. Give credit to both teams.”
Levi Colwill missed the game with a shoulder problem and Pochettino and his assistant Jesus Perez hinted that defender may now have to withdraw from the England squad for the final Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.
After Perez had indicated 50/50 with his hand, a Chelsea spokesman said: “We should have an update on that [Colwill] in the next 24 hours.”
Palmer did not celebrate his late equaliser from the spot and said: “Very strange, the first time I have played against City, I have the utmost respect for the club I spent 15 years at and it is nice to see some friends.
“It was a long time waiting [on the penalty], but I felt confident and I have had a few now. I kept calm and focused. I’m not going to say I work on them because I don’t. I trust in my natural ability.”
.Culled from The Telegraph