| 4.6°C Belfast

We must show referees trust and respect: Pochettino


Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has backed up Arsene Wenger's view that the decision to remove Kevin Friend from Tottenham's clash with Stoke calls into question the integrity of officials.

Friend was due to take charge of Monday night's crucial match at the Britannia Stadium but was taken off the game after Spurs supporters protested on social media he was a Leicester fan.

Neil Swarbrick will now referee Tottenham's fixture while Friend has been moved to Manchester United's game at home to Aston Villa.

Wenger said yesterday he felt the decision was wrong, as it questions the professionalism of referees, and Pochettino admits he was also surprised at the change.

"We never complain and I want to say we trust in all the referees but I think we need to trust," Pochettino said.

"In some point I agree with Arsene. It is important to keep the integrity of the referee and always back the referee.

"They are human and can make mistakes like us but it is important next time to behave naturally and to show the referee the trust and respect."

Pochettino's men play the Potters eager to close the gap on Leicester, who are seven points clear at the top of the table with five matches left to play.

Harry Kane is fit after overcoming a dead leg he sustained against Manchester United last weekend while Clinton Njie is also available again after recovering from a knee problem. Nabil Bentaleb, however, has a knee injury and is out.

Belfast Telegraph