Pochettino to pit his wits against Harry
Published 23/08/2014 | 06:21
Mauricio Pochettino is looking forward to pitting his wits against former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who not only shares a similar managerial CV but the same birthday.
Two years on from his sacking, the 67-year-old will on Sunday return to White Hart Lane for the first time as manager of QPR.
It was an unceremonious end to what was the most successful period of Spurs' recent history, with Redknapp still the only man to have led the club into the Champions League.
Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood have since tried and failed, with former Argentina international Pochettino the latest man charged with getting the club into the top four after an impressive 18-month stint at Southampton.
Redknapp also spent time at the St Mary's helm - albeit enduring a far less successful spell - and the similarities stretch even further, with both men being born on the same day.
As fate would have it, the only previous occasion the managers have met was on their birthday, March 2, when relegation-bound QPR last year ran out 2-1 victors on the south coast.
"I have full respect for him," Pochettino said of the man 25 years his senior. "He was born on the same day as me, March 2, so he is a special person too like me.
"I know about Harry Redknapp, I have full respect for him and he, too, was the manager of Southampton and Tottenham."
Redknapp gave Pochettino a "very, very good" bottle of red wine as a present that day, but the Argentinian handed QPR the three points in a match which Loic Remy scored.
The France international is likely to feature this weekend against a Spurs side whose interest has been widely reported, which perhaps explains why Pochettino became so uncomfortable when quizzed about the striker's attributes.
"I never talk about different players," Pochettino said. "I know Remy because he is a good player, an international player.
"But, yes, he is fast and we need to be ready in the game on Sunday because he is a very good player."
Pochettino was similarly coy when asked the possibility of Vlad Chiriches moving to Roma and reported interest from Napoli in Sandro, although he opened up when it came to the difficulties of getting Tottenham playing the way he wants.
The Argentinian takes charge of his first competitive home match fresh from wins at West Ham and AEL Limassol, yet the attractive, high-pressing football seen at Southampton has yet to replicated.
"It is difficult to say how long you need, but in the beginning we try to put our style," Pochettino said.
"It is true that this was a difficult period, the start to pre-season because this year there was the World Cup and many players arrived late.
"It is always difficult to put in place and develop your style when you have players away, but we are happy at the moment; we are looking forward."