Mauricio Pochettino defends Serge Aurier, warns him to be careful after red
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino refused to blame Serge Aurier for his sending off in Tottenham's 3-2 win at West Ham but says the defender knows he needs to be more careful in the Premier League.
Aurier was shown a second yellow card 20 minutes from time for a rash tackle from behind on Andy Carroll, shortly after being booked for push on the Hammers' striker. Spurs were leading 3-1 at the time and the hosts took advantage of the extra man, scoring again to set up a tense finish at the London Stadium.
"I cannot blame him. I cannot blame anyone when this type of situation happens because I was a player and you can find on Google many, many mistakes from me," Pochettino said afterwards. "It's not easy to keep calm. Me on the touchline, it was the same. Sometimes you make a mistake but that is football. There's no problem."
Aurier was making his full Premier League debut and Pochettino added: "It's true that he needs to learn about that situation and improve but when it's a player that has just arrived at the club and he is given the responsibility to play this type of game, sometimes it happens.
"For me, it's not a big issue. I am happy with him. He made a mistake because he had a yellow card but I think the first yellow card, he didn't deserve. And I'm sure that he'd agree that in this type of action, he needs to be careful.
"The important thing that everyone needs to understand is that his preseason wasn't the best, like with Davinson [Sanchez]. He needs time to improve. We are in the middle of the competition and it's not easy for a player that comes, like [Fernando] Llorente too. They need time.
"But he is doing very well. Maybe not playing against Huddersfield [through suspension] will help him to train hard and get fit as soon as possible and improve, because when you cannot play, we are a coaching staff that pushes a lot and tries to provide him with the best fitness quality and tactics and everything."
Aurier, a £23 million deadline-day signing from Paris Saint-Germain, arrived in England with a reputation for controversy after a number of unsavoury off-field incidents during his three-year stay in the French capital, including a conviction for assault on a police officer.
But it was just his third sending off in over 100 career appearances and Pochettino says the Ivory Coast international has already made a positive impression on his teammates.
"His reputation is not about getting sent off many times. His behaviour is fantastic on the team, since he arrived," Pochettino said. "The teammates love him. He is a very good teammate and he is very good friends with Kieran Trippier, who he competes with for the same position. I think, to be honest, he is doing very well. We are so happy with him."
Pochettino added that it was "good for Aurier" to have former Toulouse teammate Moussa Sissoko at Spurs to help him settle, and praised the France midfielder's performance at West Ham, describing it as "fantastic."
Sissoko could start again in Tuesday's Champions League trip to Apoel Nicosia because Mousa Dembele is continuing to struggle with a persistent foot problem, despite having surgery in May.
"We need to assess in the next few days," Pochettino said of Dembele. "We don't know if it's possible for him to be available to go to Cyprus. And then we'll see about Huddersfield. We need to check him every day. Maybe in the next few days, we'll take some decisions with the medical staff.
"I don't believe [he will need another operation]. But I cannot say nothing because now it's in the medical staff's hands. Now we need to assess him in between tomorrow and Monday and we'll see."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.