Return to Premier League is ‘priority’ for Pochettino

Former Tottenham coach eyeing up next managerial job in ‘different era in football’

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: ‘Always, you dream of the perfect club. The perfect project.’ Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: ‘Always, you dream of the perfect club. The perfect project.’ Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

 

Mauricio Pochettino is ready to manage again and has said returning to the Premier League is his “priority”.

The Argentinian was relieved of his duties at Tottenham in November and is no longer on their payroll having ended his six-month gardening leave earlier this week.

That means he is now free to join another club without prospective owners needing to pay Spurs compensation.

Pochettino has been heavily linked with Newcastle if their takeover goes through, while speculation around him joining Manchester United has never gone away, especially after Spurs defender and close ally Danny Rose said this week he thinks his former manager will end up at Old Trafford.

You need to be ready for the moment when the offer appears, the new chapter in your professional life

Real Madrid have also been suitors in the past and, while Pochettino has not ruled out joining a foreign club, he has given his biggest indication yet that his next job will see him back in the Premier League.

“After six months, our tanks are completely full,” he said. “I have tried with my coaching staff to review everything that we did in the last seven years [including Southampton] because we never had a break until now.

“It has been an amazing time to review everything, to start to organise again our ideas to plan the future, to try to compete better, to try to learn from our experience and of course looking forward for the next job because that is very dynamic [fast-changing], football is very dynamic and you need to be ready for the moment when the offer appears, the new chapter in your professional life.

“Of course in my mind, I’m very open to wait for the seduction of the project rather than the country. It’s about the club and of course the people, the human dimension . . . maybe you can stick with people that you are going to enjoy working with. We are so open.

“Of course we love England, and the Premier League. We feel very good here. We are still living here in London. I am not going change [my feelings] now because I am not involved in the Premier League.

“Because I am no longer the Tottenham manager, I am not going to change my vision.

‘Best league’

“I still think the Premier League is the best league in the world. We enjoy it a lot. Of course, it’s one of the options. Of course, it can be my priority but I am not closed to move to a different country.”

Not only is it his love of the English game that is pointing towards staying in the country, it is also his personal circumstances, with his two sons Sebastiano and Maurizio living in London still, despite the family having a home in Barcelona.

“We have our house and our home here,” he added. “We feel very good for the future in this country. People are very respectful. Football is so exciting.

“It’s difficult to move to Barcelona. And then my kids. Maurizio is playing for Tottenham, Sebastiano has a girlfriend here in London.

“The family is moving around here in London. At the moment my idea is to stay here, live in London – me, myself and my family.”

Whenever football returns to some sort of normality, Pochettino is not going to be short of offers to resume his managerial career.

The work he did at Spurs, taking them to the top table of English and European football, is sure to earn him a different level of opportunity and he is dreaming of the “perfect project”.

He admits, though, that due to the uncertainty around the coronavirus crisis, he does not know what that will look like.

Today we are going to live a completely different era in football that we need to discover

“Always, you dream of the perfect club. The perfect project,” he said. “It’s difficult to discover until . . . the project is not on the table. It’s difficult to assess.

“From outside, it’s difficult to measure the capacity of the clubs, the capacity of the players, the squad. You need to share ideas in the moment that some club approaches you and start to talk . . . to try to find if the project is a good fit or not.

“Today we are going to live a completely different era in football that we need to discover. It’s difficult to know what project is going to be the right project.

“There are many things, at the moment, that we have in our minds about how things are going to be after this virus hopefully disappears, but how are these clubs or companies, because that’s what they are, going to be? It’s a big question mark.

“That’s why it’s so difficult. We are a coaching staff that are open to listen to all the projects, all the people. We are learning and sharing ideas.

“You never know when it’s going to be the motivation or the inspiration to say, ‘Oh, they are the right people, and you want to be with them or their club.’

“We are very receptive to listen to all the people because every single conversation we can learn from and maybe we can see a motivation to go with them.”

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