LONDON, May 3 – Mauricio Pochettino watched his heartbroken Tottenham side lose their heads as arch-rivals Chelsea ended their title dream.
Both sets of players were involved in confrontations throughout Monday night’s fiery 2-2 draw, the worst of which came when Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele was seen to gouge the eye of Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
The FA look certain to launch an investigation into the flashpoints which could mean heavy punishments for both London clubs.
The two main incidents arrived during the first half and after the full-time whistle as both sets of players and benches had to be pulled apart.
But there were further clashes between players throughout the encounter, tempers boiling over as Chelsea ended Tottenham’s Premier League title hopes by clawing back a 2-0 deficit to snatch a point with second-half goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard.
The first-half was marked by a touchline bust-up between both sets of staff and players. Midfielder Dembele was seen to jab his fingers into Costa’s left eye during the heated melee.
If that particular incident – described by Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports as ‘shocking’, was missed by referee Mark Clattenburg then the influential Belgian could face disciplinary action from the FA.
Dembele could be slapped with a three-match suspension if the clash with Costa is subject to a probe by Wembley chiefs, meaning he would miss the rest of this season and the opening game of the next campaign.
Likewise, manager Pochettino could also find himself in hot water with the FA after storming on to the pitch to separate Chelsea winger Willian and Spurs left back Danny Rose as they clashed.
The pair stood toe-to-toe just in front of Pochettino’s technical area and the Spurs manager decided to take matters into his own hands by entering the pitch to keep the duo apart.
The Argentine’s surprise intervention was followed by the mass melee between the London rivals as tempers boiled over on a tension-filled night.
Pochettino was in the middle of another heated confrontation after the final whistle when further clashes between players and staff erupted at the entrance to the tunnel.
A clash between Cesc Fabregas and Danny Rose sparked the mass brawl, which saw Spurs substitute Michel Vorm and Costa become embroiled in the confrontation.
There was also an angry exchange between Pochettino and Chelsea assistant boss Steve Holland.
Tottenham face an automatic fine for earning nine bookings. The FA will await referee Clattenburg’s report this morning before deciding whether to investigate the various bust-ups.
Pochettino, who said he didn’t see Dembele’s eye-gouge, said: “Maybe we didn’t set a good example, but it’s a normal emotion, fighting on the pitch.
“I was involved in all of it. I tried to be calm. But it was derby, we were fighting for the title and Chelsea fighting to win the game, but I think they make us feel very proud, how Chelsea took the game and showed us respect.
‘It’s not personal, we respect them. We have full respect for them. It’s football, we are men, they are men, we need to show we are strong.”
On the Dembele incident, Pochettino added: “I heard but I didn’t see it. We can see in every game in the last few days a lot of things happen. It’s the end of the season, the emotion, we are human. We need to see the video. On the touchline is hard to observe the situations.”