Wednesday 26 June 2019

Mauricio Pochettino fully focused on Tottenham

The Argentinian has guided Spurs to three consecutive top-three finishes.

Mauricio Pochettino is understood to be Manchester United’s main target to replace Jose Mourinho (John Walton/PA)
Mauricio Pochettino is understood to be Manchester United’s main target to replace Jose Mourinho (John Walton/PA)

By Jonathan Veal, Press Association Sport

Mauricio Pochettino insists he is focused only on his job at Tottenham amid speculation linking him to the vacant managerial position at Manchester United.

United are looking for a new manager after sacking Jose Mourinho on Tuesday and Pochettino, who was considered for the role in 2016, is reported to be number one on the Old Trafford wish-list.

Being faced with rumours about his position is nothing new for the Argentinian as he was heavily linked with a summer move to Real Madrid, before eventually signing a new five-year contract.

But Pochettino declined the opportunity to categorically rule himself out of moving to Old Trafford, instead saying he was focused only on Spurs, who have the small matter of a north London derby against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.

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Jose Mourinho (left) and Mauricio Pochettino enjoy a good relationship (PA Wire/Nick Potts)

“First of all I want to send my best wishes to him (Mourinho) and I feel so sorry because you know very well I have a very good relationship him,” he said.

“He’s a very good friend and always it’s sad news, what happened today. Then it’s not my business, what happened at another club. I only want to send my best wishes to Jose.”

He added: “We know a lot of rumours happen. But it’s not my business what happens in another club now.

“I’m so focused on delivering my best job, our best job, in this club and now we have ahead a very busy period and tomorrow we play another derby, such an important derby for us.

“It’s the quarter-final of the cup. I think you and all the people understand we’re focused on trying to deliver our best job tomorrow.”

Spurs fans might be understandably worried about the man who has turned them into perennial top-four challengers in the Premier League moving to United, but Pochettino did not feel the need to reassure them.

“After nearly five years, what more do I need to say?” he asked.

“From day one, not only in the coaching staff but with the players, there’s a lot of rumours that happen in football. Today the business is like this.

“I accept everything. I accept the rumours when they’re positive, when they’re negative. I accept opinions when you win and people praise you and when you lose and they’re negative against you.

“That’s part of our business and our job.”

The latest round of speculation has overshadowed a big game in Tottenham’s season as they return to the Emirates Stadium trying to avenge their Premier League defeat two-and-a-half weeks ago.

Winning the League Cup quarter-final tie would be another big step towards a first trophy in 10 years for Spurs, and Pochettino, who has played weakened teams in the competition so far, hinted he would field a strong side.

“Maybe I surprise you and maybe not rotate too much in that moment tomorrow,” he said. “Maybe I am not going to rotate.”

Jan Vertonghen has been ruled out until January with a thigh injury, but Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth have returned to training after hamstring complaints.

Eric Dier (appendicitis), Mousa Dembele (ankle) and Victor Wanyama (knee) remain out.

Press Association

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