Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has hit out at a perceived lack of respect from reporters following his side's late 2-1 defeat at the hands of Inter Milan this evening.
Spurs looked to be on course for a memorable win at San Siro in their Champions League opener courtesy of Christian Eriksen's strike, but a late capitulation allowed Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino to turn the game around with two goals in the last eight minutes.
Questions were raised over Pochettino's decision to leave Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier out of his squad for the match, and the Argentine reacted angrily to being second-guessed during his post-match interview.
"Against Watford and against Liverpool, they were on the pitch. Wow, what a question, such an easy question eh? You know, easy target. [It's] easy to talk about the players that aren't here. I think we need to talk about football. Because, you know I think you force me to say something that is not good. You disrespect the players that today showed better qualities than the opponent," Pochettino told reporters.
"Why disrespect the players that aren't on the pitch? You can blame me and say, 'Gaffer, you were so, so rubbish in your selection of the starting XI'. But please don't disrespect the players who were playing, because it's my decision. Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld.... we have 25 players. And you believe that and sometimes you behave like you ask me with your question, that you can play only 11 and the other 13 or 14 players are rubbish, are shit.
"Sorry, but I am so disappointed because I am a person that respects you a lot and the players. When my decision is to play with XI, you must respect my decision because I am the manager. You show too much disrespect for the players who play in the position as the players you have given me the names of now.
"I don't understand. Sorry. You are so kind people, but I don't understand why. Why? Please. To be a player is so difficult, and of course for me it is easier on the touchline. I don't run. It is so painful to hear when some people are not here, and you judge in that way and you kill players who give their best. It's so unfair."
Spurs have now lost three successive matches for the first time under Pochettino.