Mauricio Pochettino: Spurs prepared to implement racism protocol vs Red Star
By PA Media
Last Updated: 01/11/19 11:05pm
Mauricio Pochettino does not want to give racists any encouragement by discussing potential problems during Tottenham's Champions League trip to Red Star Belgrade next week.
Spurs head to Serbia for Wednesday's Group B clash and the possibility of them receiving racist abuse is likely to dominate the build-up.
Red Star fans were banned from attending the reverse fixture for racist abuse in the qualifying round, the national team have been ordered to play a game behind closed doors for a similar offence against Portugal in the same stadium Spurs will play at, while the Premier League club were subjected to abuse on their last visit to Belgrade in 2014.
Pochettino is prepared to talk to his side about implementing the three-step protocol but does not want to give anybody planning on abusing any of his players any pre-match publicity.
Pochettino said: "Still we haven't talked. Of course we are going to talk - it's a thing that is there.
"If you are asking me, the most important thing is not to give publicity today because the more publicity you give it's like you are allowed to do something because people are talking and you encourage people do something.
"We need to go there and think nothing is going to happen - we've got to trust in the UEFA protocol.
"We can't go there and think, 'Oh, something is going to happen'.
"We need to go there and then take the decision, follow the protocol of UEFA, and then if something happens take the decision that is needed."
Pochettino had previously said he would haul his players off if they were subjected to the sort of abuse England suffered in Montenegro in March. But now says he would make a decision with his players, just as Gareth Southgate did with his England side in Bulgaria last month.
He said: "You are going to support your players and back your players - it happened a short time ago with the national team in Bulgaria.
"What happened there, the decision was taken between the captain, the players and the manager.
"That is the most important thing - we cannot guess what is going to happen there.
"Of course many things have happened in the past few years, we are aware about everything but we need to trust that nothing wrong is going to happen.
"I am always a person that trusts that people can learn and improve."