Mauricio Pochettino was giving nothing away when asked why Tottenham’s chief scout Steve Hitchen was dispatched to watch Liverpool take on Everton on Sunday.
Questions have been raised by Hitchen’s attendance at Anfield, with the scout in attendance as Liverpool beat Everton in dramatic fashion thanks to Divock Origi’s last-gasp header.
The chief scout rather wisely gave proceedings at the Emirates a miss, as Tottenham were beaten by Arsenal hours earlier.
When asked as to why Hitchen was on Merseyside instead of at the north London derby, Pochettino joked: “There is maybe a big surprise in January!”
And when questioned if he’d been asked to check on a particular player, Pochettino seemed happy to swerve the question, by responding: “He went to enjoy the entertainment, the experience.”
The jovial Spurs boss was did not offer such a warm response, however, when questioned about how their rivals had taken great pleasure in their 4-2 defeat, with not only Arsenal supporters but Liverpool ones celebrating too.
Arsenal players even broke one of English football’s unwritten codes: never take dressing-room selfies.
“When people celebrate like this, it’s because they respect you and see you as a big club,” he said.
“When we arrived here five years ago, the derby was a little bit ‘well it’s normally Arsenal always above Tottenham.’ But now the last two seasons we were above, and how they celebrate, of course it’s a derby but you start to see [those social media posts].
“It was a massive win for them, of course, and for us it was a massive disappointment – but it showed the respect that we got in the last few years with our performances, with our results.”
Commenting further on Hitchen’s observations about their celebrations, Pochettino continued: “Steve [Hitchen] was at the Liverpool game against Everton and was watching our game before in the stadium – and when Arsenal scored the third goal all the Liverpool fans celebrated, like Arsenal celebrated after.
“It’s clear we’re doing something good. I love it when the people celebrate when they beat you. I don’t like it when the people don’t celebrate because it’s normal to beat Tottenham.”
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