Arsene Wenger must have known he was opening a can of worms when he decided to lash out at Danny Rose.
The Arsenal boss confirmed Hector Bellerin’s injury came about as a result of a “strong” challenge in the final seconds of the North London derby from the Spurs left-back, a tackle Le Professeur clearly thought was unnecessary.
A fortnight on from the game, and Mauricio Pochettino has been forced to leap to his player’s defence.
The England defender has never been a malicious player, and Pochettino summed up, via the Mirror, what’s essentially nothing more than an unfortunate situation for the Spaniard.
“What happens on the pitch is never about bad intentions, it is about football,” he said.
“I stopped my [playing] career 10 years ago and I feel like it was last month. I totally understand when players are playing with passion like Danny or anyone in our team.
“We are always aggressive in our play and sometimes things happen because football is very aggressive – it is a contact sport, always. You cannot avoid the contact.”
Bellerin will miss tomorrow’s trip to Manchester United, as well as key games against Paris Saint-Germain and potentially Manchester City in a month’s time.
Surprisingly, though, Pochettino added that he would have had no complaints if Rose had been injured – as indeed it looked like he might have been – while playing for England in midweek.
“Two days ago, there was a bad tackle on Danny from Carvajal but that is football,” he went on.
“If Danny comes in from the training ground and says, ‘I cannot play on Saturday’ I cannot criticise Carvajal, because it is a game. Or Vardy for the tackle on Azpilicueta, that is football.
“We want all players to be like a man, be aggressive, make a tackle, always.
“But intention to injury the opponent? In football you know.
“Sometimes you cannot stop, you arrive late and you cannot criticise every single tackle.
“It is very strange that comment [from Wenger], but I respect him.”
Rose is expected to be fit for Spurs’ game against West Ham tomorrow, with the Lilywhites 1/2 favourites.