Sunday 16 June 2019

Mauricio Pochettino on Mourinho: 'I feel so sorry because I have a very good relationship with him'

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with Jose Mourinho
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with Jose Mourinho

Jack de Menezes

Mauricio Pochettino has refused to rule himself out the running to replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United after the Portuguese was sacked on Tuesday morning.

Pochettino is among the top targets wanted at Old Trafford to replace Mourinho after he was dismissed following the 3-1 defeat against Premier League leaders Liverpool at the weekend.

The Independent understands that Pochettino is not in the running to become the immediate manager at Old Trafford as the club are looking to appoint an interim replacement until the end of the season, in the knowledge that it will cost a fortune to spring Pochettino from his contract at Tottenham or approach another high-profile target such as Zinedine Zidane.

But Pochettino is very much in the running to take charge ahead of next season where United will reassess their situation and appoint someone with a long-term vision, with the Argentine currently the bookmakers' favourite to take over long-term.

By coincidence, Pochettino was scheduled to hold a press conference fewer than three hours after news broke of Mourinho's sacking ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup quarter-final against Arsenal, but he immediately expressed his sadness at the news and refused to answer any questions on potentially leaving Spurs for United.

"I want to send my best wishes to Mourinho. I feel so sorry because you know very well I have a very good relationship with him (Mourinho) so it's very sad news what happened today," Pochettino said.

"To follow your question, it's not my business what happened today at another club and only I want to send my best wishes to Jose."

Pushed on whether the concern among Tottenham fans that he will leave the club in the near future has any basis, Pochettino said: "I think after nearly five years there's a lot of rumours at what will happen about my position here. I cannot answer this type of question because it's a rumour and anything could happen in the business of football. Also I respect a lot what happens here.

"The business we know very well, a lot of rumours happen, but it’s not my business. I'm so focused on training and delivering our best result in this football club.

"What more do I need to say?"

Independent News Service

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