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Tottenham Hotspur

Pochettino reveals Spurs will discuss how to handle racism ahead of Red Star match

03:31 GMT+3 02/11/2019
Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham 2019-20
The Tottenham boss said he didn't want to provide any encouragement for racist behaviour, but that his side would stick to UEFA's three-step protocol

Mauricio Pochettino is aware of the potential for another racism incident in Tottenham’s upcoming Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade, and says he will talk with his players about it beforehand.

Red Star fans were banned from attending the reverse fixture in north London after being charged with racist behaviour in July, and Spurs left-back Danny Rose was subjected to abuse while on international duty in Serbia back in 2012.

Pochettino said he and his squad will stick to the UEFA three-step protocol, which was used by England in their recent European Championships qualifying game in Bulgaria.

“Of course we are going to talk,” Pochettino said.

“But the most important thing is not to give it publicity today because when people are talking, 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 trust that we are going to handle the situation in the best way if it happens again, as it happened to England.

“But I am always a person that trusts that people can learn and improve.”

The three-step protocol is designed to stop racist abuse before a match has to be stopped, with the idea of players walking off the pitch still a controversial one.

The first step sees the match temporarily stopped, with the match referee instructing stadium authorities to call for spectators to stop whatever abuse has been reported.

The second step would see a second announcement in the stadium, with players sent to the dressing rooms for a specific period of time.

The third step would, after consultation with players, see the game abandoned if abuse either doesn’t stop or begins again.

As far as matters on the pitch are concerned, Spurs will be looking towards the Red Star game as a chance to take a big step towards qualification for the Champions League knockout stages – though they may be mindful of Liverpool’s defeat there last season.

Spurs are five points behind leaders Bayern Munich with three games played, one ahead of Red Star and three ahead of Olympiacos.

Before then, they must navigate a potentially difficult trip to Everton on Saturday evening, as Pochettino’s side look to correct their shaky early-season form.