Wednesday 28 September 2016

Mauricio Pochettino: I am a better manager after meeting Sir Alex Ferguson

Published 13/05/2016 | 22:56

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, pictured, met Sir Alex Ferguson on Tuesday
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, pictured, met Sir Alex Ferguson on Tuesday

Mauricio Pochettino admits he could hardly sleep after his lunch with Sir Alex Ferguson and believes he is a better Tottenham manager for his two hours with the former Manchester United boss.

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Pochettino was pictured meeting Ferguson at a restaurant in central London on Tuesday, prompting rumours the Argentinian was being lined up to take charge at Old Trafford.

Spurs claimed, however, they were well aware of the get-together and on Thursday ended speculation by announcing Pochettino had signed a new five-year contract at White Hart Lane.

Pochettino insisted on Friday that Ferguson did not bring up Manchester United during their conversation and admitted he hung on every word the Scot said.

"It was difficult for me to sleep on the night because it was fantastic to meet him," Pochettino said.

"When you have people who inspire you or is a big reference for you...We laughed a lot because when I was at Espanyol, I remember in the media (people saying) 'maybe Pochettino will be the new Ferguson at Espanyol'.

"When you remember all that and after that you have him in front of you, it is very emotional."

Pochettino said it was he and his assistant Jesus Perez who suggested the lunch after speaking to Ferguson at the League Managers Association President's Dinner in March.

Perez booked the table at Scott's in Mayfair and also paid the bill, which included an £114 bottle of Brunello di Montalcino 2011, a Tuscan red with hints of cherry, plum and mint.

"We had a very good glass," Pochettino said. "But only one. Jesus? Three."

Pochettino has only finished his second year at Tottenham, 24 short of Ferguson's 26 at United, but has achieved remarkable progress in such a short period of time.

Spurs' surprise title challenge this season will see them come second if they win at Newcastle on Sunday, which would represent the club's highest top-flight placing since 1963.

"To be honest both of us were interested to know each other. It was fantastic to hear him, to listen, to hear him speak about football, and about life," Pochettino said.

"I learn a lot. It was two hours and it was very emotional. It was fantastic. Every word, every sentence he told us was a big lesson.

"Am I a better manager now? Of course. You can read, you buy things, but to experience people with great charisma and personality...you can read a book, but he is in front of you with the charisma and the personality. Then you understand why he is Sir Alex Ferguson."

It was even suggested Ferguson could visit Tottenham's training ground next season.

"I invited him to come here and he would like to come," Pochettino said. "I think it is fantastic."

Pochettino has previously cited Ferguson as an example of the rewards longevity can bring and, now as Tottenham's 'manager' rather than 'head coach', the 44-year-old hopes to have a similar overarching influence.

"Football has changed and moved on. It is more specific, the job," Pochettino said.

"But you need to co-ordinate all. For success, you need to coordinate, not just focus on the game.

"You are head coach, manage your side, but you need to sign players for your style, take care of the financial side, to understand the financial side.

"I could go to (chairman) Daniel (Levy) and say I want (Lionel) Messi. He will say I am crazy, we don't have money enough to bring him.

"For me it is important. For me the word manager represents better my job than head coach."

Press Association

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