Pochettino would have quit Spurs if they won Champions League

Argentinean manager says he would have called it a day after five years in London

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino says he would have left the club if they on the Champions League. Photo: Wallace Woon/EPA

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino says he would have left the club if they on the Champions League. Photo: Wallace Woon/EPA

 

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino admits he could have quit the job had Tottenham won the Champions League.

The former Argentina defender has established Spurs as a top-four regular since swapping Southampton for north London in 2014.

Pochettino has yet to win a trophy but could scarcely be more loved by the Tottenham faithful, especially after leading them on a memorable run to the Champions League final.

Spurs lost 2-0 to Premier League rivals Liverpool in June’s Madrid showpiece, but that outcome has seemingly prevented much-vaunted Pochettino moving on to pastures new — and fuelled his desire to kick on with the club.

“It was an amazing period,” he said. “After five years in a difficult project at Tottenham we talk a lot about perception and reality, how we fight and all the energy we expend trying to get Tottenham fighting with the best teams in Europe and England.

“Of course, it’s always in your head, you never know. With the way I am, I am always going to prioritise the club over myself.

“Maybe if it was a different result after the final you can think, ‘OK, maybe this is a moment to leave the club and give them the possibility of a really new chapter with a new coaching staff’.

“But after the final I felt this was not great to finish like this. I’m not a person that avoids facing problems or a difficult situation.

“I love a massive challenge, a difficult challenge and of course now to rebuild that mentality to make it possible to repeat a similar season, that is exciting and motivates me a lot.”

Asked if he could have made a different decision had Spurs won the Champions League, Pochettino — who signed a new and improved five-year deal last summer — said: “For sure.

“You know very much when you touch glory you behave differently or you feel different or the players feel different and the challenge becomes different.

“It’s like Kieran (Trippier, who joined Atletico Madrid) explained to me in private and to the media in Madrid — he loved to be at Tottenham and work with us but at 28, 29, sometimes a player needs to discover need things and new challenges.

“That is inside yourself and it’s only you who knows how you feel — it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing, it’s about accepting how you feel.

“You are an individual, you have (an) individual challenge and you have to accept (it) if all the parts are happy.”

But Pochettino’s focus now is on the future and pre-season preparations continue in Singapore, where Juventus await at the National Stadium on Sunday.

Christian Eriksen trained on his own on Friday following a small procedure and is a doubt for the International Champions Cup clash, but there are bigger questions over the Dane’s future after admitting in the summer that he was considering leaving.

“To be honest, it’s difficult for me to talk about the comments of the player,” Pochettino said. “I wasn’t there and I don’t know.

“To be honest, during my holidays I didn’t want to listen and see the media.

“Christian is here because he expects to play, maybe Sunday against Juventus or against Manchester United.”

One long-serving player has already departed — Trippier — while another looks likely to follow suit after Danny Rose was omitted from the touring squad.

“Danny is still our player and of course for different reasons (Georges-Kevin) Nkoudou and Vincent Janssen they deal with the club with, of course Daniel (Levy, owner) and the agents to take a little bit more time there to fix different problems,” Pochettino added.

“After 10 days after we play Man United and Juventus, when we come back to London if they are, they are going to be in a normal way with the team.

“It was Kieran’s decision. He communicated the day before we travelled here and told me he had accepted an offer from Atletico Madrid and in the end it was the club who communicated with me that they had agreed a deal.

“I wasn’t involved in all this discussion in the last week.”

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