Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says there was no malice behind the ugly tackles made by Harry Kane and Dele Alli during last week’s heavy defeat at Manchester City.
England internationals Kane and Alli were each shown yellow cards for studs-up lunges on City forwards Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne during the 4-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium.
The pair are free to play against Burnley on Saturday after escaping red cards and subsequent suspensions as Spurs continue their search for a first Premier League away win since late September.
“Sometimes you arrive late and you make some tackles that are not so good,” the Argentine coach said.
“When you play and don’t win, you are disappointed, frustrated and you try to change and sometimes you make a mistake and sometimes you arrive late — that is football.
“But it wasn’t with bad intentions to try to injure someone. Never with bad intention, only because the result wasn’t good for us.”
The defeat against Premier League leaders City was seventh-placed Spurs’ fifth of the campaign in the league and leaves them one spot below their weekend opponents ahead of the trip to Turf Moor.
Pochettino was keen to point out that Spurs are not far behind the points tally they had at this stage last year and said he still has high expectations for the rest of the season.
“No,” he replied when asked if he would accept a fourth-placed finish to retain a place in the Champions League.
“I am not a comfortable person. I love to take a risk. I am here because I love to take a risk. I feel that I am a winner. Sometimes the winner loses too and they need to lose to feel the pain.
“This season we had a similar start to last season. The only thing is maybe three points down but we are in (the) Champions League. And of course different circumstances, different everything, maybe some teams improve a lot from last season.”