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Tuesday 23
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Tottenham Hotspur

Pochettino speaks out on abuse

30th March 2019, 08:34 by Nick Harris

Mauricio Pochettino would have no hesitation in taking his Tottenham players off the pitch if they suffered racist abuse

Spurs star Danny Rose was among those abused by Montenegro fans during England's 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win on Monday, with the defender subjected to monkey chants.

The Football Association described the incidents in Podgorica, where Callum Hudson-Odoi and Raheem Sterling were also targeted, as "abhorrent".

Governing body UEFA subsequently opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro, including a charge of racist behaviour.

Reaction has been strong from within the game, with Pochettino joining a growing list of managers who say they would stop proceedings if he witnessed abuse.

"If I feel the abuse and I hear it, then out. Stop. Stop," Pochettino confirmed. "There is nothing more important than to stop that.

"A game you can win or you can lose. You can win the three points or lose the three points. I don't know. But we cannot be hypocrites with that.

"There is nothing more important in this life to protect the values and principles and no one can abuse. No one deserves to be abused.

"When this type of situation happens, football is not important, you know. If that happens and I am conscious about that, I am the first to say, 'Stop, we are not going to play. Come on inside. Go off.'

"Because football is not important. The most important thing is that you cannot make someone feel and treat them like that."

Pochettino believes the attention drawn to the abuse footballers receive could help people intervene if racism occurs in everyday life.

"It was so clear because it was on TV and we could see but how many people suffer abuse in everyday life in different countries, on the street, and no one knows?" Pochettino added.

"That is why all my support is to them, and to the players and all the people that maybe are going to see me and say, 'Oh, I feel the same. I'm going to help if something happens on the street. I'm going to stop that'.

"Because some people see some abuse on the street and they don't want to be involved.

"But maybe with that, you are more conscious and sensitive and you are going to be involved and try to stop. I think every single situation that can help that, which is in our hands, we need to be there."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Nick Harris is a long-standing journalist who specialises in football and rugby league. An avid golfer, Nick also follows the major boxing fights closely.

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