The end-story of the street-smart coach of Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino was not a rosy one, but for five years his impact on the London-based club had been huge – from nowhere they became one of the most competitive sides in Europe and their style of play and never-say-die attitude charmed the world. But in the season of 2019-20, the wheels started to come out and at one point, Pochettino had to leave to make the way for Jose Mourinho.
In an interview published in the Spanish outlet AS, Pochettino said highlighted on various topics.
Here are the excerpts:
On the 2019-20 season
I knew that after five years at the club and with the way we were working and all the things that happened, it was going to be difficult.
It changed a little bit in our minds the possibility to stay open to design another plan or a strategy to build again a different chapter. A different project should be difficult for us to maintain, to keep improving.
No ill-will towards Daniel Levy
No, because my commitment to the club, with Daniel and, of course, with the players and the fans was massive.
I said to Daniel that we finished in the way that no one wanted but the end … it needed to happen. If not, our relationship will continue forever! And maybe that’s no good for the club or for us.
When the decision came, we needed to move on. The decision for us to be hired was fantastic and when the decision is not good for you, you need to show respect. Always, Daniel is going to be my friend. All the people at the club will be.
Any resentment towards Jose Mourinho?
No. Look, with José, we know each other for a long time.
There was a time when Pochettino was linked to join Real Madrid as the coach instead of Mourinho, but he said, “My kids are sleeping in Espanyol pajamas every night so it’s very difficult for me to think about changing clubs”.
It started off a wonderful relationship between him and Mourinho – when they met each other in a match, Mourinho showing his gratitude by presenting Pochettino with a gift ahead of the match.
“It was a very nice bottle of French red wine for me and two Real Madrid kits, José says: ‘Okay, these are for your kids to wear from now on.’
“We have kept a good relationship since then and I am so happy he is at Tottenham, replacing me.
“I am happy as well to have left the club in the condition that we left it and for sure he is very grateful for the way that we helped to build the club, which is now his club.”
“I always think I’d replace him. He was at Real Madrid. I say: ‘Oh, maybe one day I can take your place at Real Madrid.’ But look at how life works out. He has taken my place at Tottenham. Unbelievable, eh?”
On the UEFA Champions League Final 2018-19
We were much better than Liverpool and maybe we deserved a better result but the finals are about winning. It’s not about to deserve or not to deserve.
No one is prepared to concede in the Champions League final like we did after 30 seconds and that changed everything, all the emotions.
It is difficult to prepare a team for that happening. I was so disappointed afterward. It was difficult to stop crying, to stop feeling bad.