In his final pre-match briefing of 2016, Mauricio Pochettino capped quite a bizarre year by urging Watford's mascot not to mess with Dele Alli, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur's trip to Watford on New Years Day.
The Hornets mascot, lovingly named 'Harry the Hornet', whipped up quite the storm on Boxing Day, as he appeared to mock Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha following a fixture at Vicarage Road.
Zaha, in one of his final appearances for Palace before joining up with Ivory Coast for the African Cup of Nations, was booked for apparent simulation in the draw, looking to win a penalty.
Hornet in hot water
As the talented winger walked off the pitch the mascot, Harry, walked behind Zaha before comically falling over in a similar fashion to the player, much to the amusement of the home support. Unfortunately, neither the Zaha or his manager saw the funny side, with Sam Allardyce calling for the FA to investigate Harry's actions.
Alli would scare the mascot, says Pochettino
Now, ahead of Watford's first game of 2017 against Tottenham, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has had his say on the matter, giving Harry the Hornet a stern warning.
With midfielder Alli, who grabbed a brace in the 4-1 win over Southampton on Wednesday, the topic of discussion having been accused of diving on a few occasions already this season, Pochettino said that any such actions in front of his player would "probably scare the mascot," and that he'd be "very brave to do it in front of Dele."
Speaking about the incident in particular, Pochettino said that he saw the funny side. "You need to laugh because the mascot is there to be funny and encourage the crowd like this. The mascot never thought he was creating a big issue," said the Argentinean, who did admit that he could "understand why they [Zaha and Allardyce] were upset."
Alli will be hoping to land a sting in Watford's tail as he looks to continue his good form, with Tottenham potentially having the chance to re-enter the top four by beating Watford, depending on results elsewhere.