Pochettino is ‘not my enemy’
Xavi says quote on Spurs’ Alli a ‘fake’
DOHA // Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi said yesterday that Mauricio Pochettino was not his “enemy” and said he could even imagine the Tottenham Hotspur manager one day taking charge at the Catalan club.
Xavi, who plays for Qatari side Al Sadd, was speaking after an apparent spat between the pair, fuelled by comments attributed to the player in an interview the Spaniard vehemently insists he did not give.
British newspaper The Sun this week quoted Xavi as saying that his friend and former manager Pep Guardiola wanted to sign Spurs midfielder Dele Alli for Manchester City.
This in turn prompted a response from Pochettino in which he labelled Xavi as his “enemy”, because of the pair’s rivalry when the Argentine played and managed Barca’s city rivals Espanyol.
Xavi though said the whole incident was “unbelievable”.
“I feel bad – because the interview of The Sun was a fake – and it’s the reason of Pochettino’s response,” Xavi said. “I don’t [ have] enemies in my life, even in football.
“Pochettino’s not my enemy, he’s not my enemy. “Before he was the coach of Espanyol and we fight between Espanyol and Barcelona. I respect him a lot.”
Xavi said Pochettino was doing a good job at Tottenham.
“I like Tottenham’s style. I like the Pochettino style,” he said before adding he could imagine him as Barcelona manager in the future, despite his Espanyol past.
“Why not? I think it’s not a problem,” Xavi said. “A lot of players and former coaches of Espanyol go to Barcelona.
“I think he can, he’s now one of the best coaches in the Premier League. He could be a good possibility.” The “fake” row has now come full circle after Guardiola said he was not interested in signing Alli, 21.
Xavi added he was convinced that Guardiola would succeed in England, despite the fact he will end the season without a trophy for the first time in his career. “It’s not easy because it is another culture, it’s another religion in the Premier League,” he said.