Belfast Telegraph

Poch says sorry as Bailly suffers injury in feisty friendly


No luck: United’s Eric Bailly has picked up another injury
No luck: United’s Eric Bailly has picked up another injury

By Simon Peach

Mauricio Pochettino apologised to Manchester United for some overzealous Tottenham challenges during their Shanghai encounter.

United and Spurs continued their pre-season preparations in China as the Hongkou Stadium bore witness to a friendly that at times was anything but.

Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko were guilty of particularly poor challenges in the first half, as was United midfielder Andreas Pereira.

Nobody was hurt in those tackles but Pochettino felt the need to apologise to his United counterparts.

"I was a little bit annoyed about some situations, I was not happy," the Tottenham head coach said.

"It was a friendly game and in some situations when you are tired, when it's so hot you are not right with the tempo to arrive at the actions, sometimes you arrive late, and something can happen. I apologise on behalf of our players to Manchester United.

"It's football. It wasn't their intention, but sometimes when you are tired you arrive late and something can happen and I was worried because, in this period of preparation, sometimes you need to be aggressive and you need to play with passion, but sometimes the focus is to build your fitness and develop the way you want to play.

"Of course I was worried, Manchester United, Eric Bailly got injured and I am sorry for that, but he was alone and always when the players start to build their fitness and start to fight for their place in the team.

"When something happens in the pre-season it's always tough and I was a little bit worried but in the second half the game was a bit more relaxed."

United boss Solskjaer said: "It's never nice when you get an injury.

"It's not worth it when you lose one. He's done his knee but we're not sure how bad it so of course we need to get back to Manchester and do the scans. Let's just hope for the best.

"We've had six centre-backs rotating here and they've all done well.

"Phil (Jones) has played the first three games, it was his turn (to be rested) today. I thought Marcos (Rojo) and Chris (Smalling) really took their chance, played well first half. We looked very assured at the back."

Belfast Telegraph


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