Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says Barcelona legend Xavi is his 'enemy' after he discussed Dele Alli's potential move to Manchester City. The World Cup and European Championship winner hinted that Pep Guardiola's side will attempt to sign Alli in the summer, but Pochettino, who faced Xavi many times for Barcelona's fierce rivals Espanyol, was quick to rubbish the Spaniard's comments.

Alli was recently crowned the Professional Football Association's Young Player of the Year for his consistently excellent performances this season, and his wondrous form has led to speculation of a £100m move to the likes of Real Madrid.

Pochettino, who is currently preparing his Tottenham side for their match against in-form Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, is aware of the speculation that surrounds his prized asset but brushed off former Barcelona captain Xavi's comments and hinted that he may be trying to do his former boss Guardiola a favour by trying to unsettle Alli.

"He's in a period when he loves to talk, he's in Doha [playing for Al Sadd] and listen, he was Barcelona player, he's my enemy," The Tottenham boss told was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

"He tried to destroy our focus to win because he hates me because he's Barcelona – player, fans, you know. I know him [Xavi] very well, I played against him a lot and when I was a manager [at Espanyol]. He is working for Manchester City, maybe? He wants to help Guardiola and [Vincent] Kompany."

Dele Alli and Mauricio Pochettino
Getty Images

Pochettino may well have been riled by Xavi's comments but he will have to put his anger to one side and focus on Tottenham's battle at Selhurst Park on Wednesday evening (26 April).

Only a win will do for the Lilywhites as they attempt to hunt down Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title, but Crystal Palace are far from pushovers. Their recent victories over Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea emphasise their impressive form, though they are still not mathematically safe from the threat of relegation on 38 points.