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Thursday 14 December 2017

Pochettino: I didn't make call on Mitchell

Paul Mitchell was this week appointed as Tottenham's head of recruitment and analysis, but head coach Mauricio Pochettino has indicated he had nothing to do with his departure from former club Southampton.

A week after high-flying Saints opened their £33million training ground, reports emanated that the 33-year-old would be following the former Argentina international to White Hart Lane.

Pochettino penned a five-year deal as head coach in the summer and on Wednesday it was confirmed that Mitchell had also made the move to north London.

Tottenham paid Southampton compensation for the former Wigan and MK Dons player, who links up again with the coaching staff he worked with at St Mary's.

Pochettino, though, suggests it was others at the club and not him that took the decision to hire Mitchell.

"I never spoke about the new appointment," the Spurs boss said.

"I know Paul from Southampton but only I say all the best and good luck in his job."

Asked if he had any role in the appointment, Pochettino said: "No. The club find him and proposed the job."

Mitchell's arrival at Tottenham will further complicate an already politically charged structure, with director of football Franco Baldini and chairman Daniel Levy both prominent in transfer negotiations.

It also leaves a void at Southampton, yet manager Ronald Koeman is unfazed by the exit of the man that has headed up the club's scouting and recruitment department since January 2012.

"I think it more of a reflection of what he did and what the club is doing over the last few years," Koeman said.

Meanwhile, Tottenham have been charged by UEFA for the pitch invasions that caused their Europa League tie with Partizan Belgrade to be temporarily suspended.

Spurs' progress to the knockout stages was overshadowed on Thursday night by the teams being led off in the 41st minute after a third individual managed to slip onto the White Hart Lane pitch.

Play resumed after a 10-minute break and the hosts went onto triumph 1-0, although the encroachments saw UEFA open disciplinary proceedings against the north London club on Friday.

European football's governing body said in a statement that its control, ethics and disciplinary body would hear the charge on December 11, but Roberto Soldado and Mousa Dembele will not face action for their attempts to stop the pitch invaders.

The incident appeared at the time to be an orchestrated PR stunt by a headphone manufacturer who produces licensed Spurs merchandise.

All three men wore t-shirts bearing the company's name, BassBuds, leading Tottenham to remove all mentions of the brand from club channels and related stock from their shops while they investigate.

The company made a statement after the match condemning the invasions and were even stronger in their words on Friday, claiming an online hidden camera prank show they were working with had gone rogue.

A statement on the company's Facebook page confirmed this was not the first time it had collaborated with Trollstation, but that it was supposed to have only been a prize giveaway on the terraces.

"Previously they always stuck to their brief," the statement read.

"For reasons we do not understand, they decided to put on the T-shirts and run on the pitch and in their subsequent words, 'prank BassBuds as well'.

"As you can imagine, we are very disappointed that our product was in any way associated with what they did and we are distressed.

"We would like to confirm we have never been in a contractual agreement with Troll Station. We have terminated our relationship with these irresponsible people, for the unauthorised events of last night."

Tottenham are awaiting the outcome of related investigations before commenting further.

ends

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