Monday 16 September 2019

Pochettino: I am happy here - ignore the stupid rumours

Pochettino signed a five-year contract with Tottenham last summer and claimed he had not yet been tempted to leave. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble
Pochettino signed a five-year contract with Tottenham last summer and claimed he had not yet been tempted to leave. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Matt Law

Mauricio Pochettino has held clear-the-air talks with chairman Daniel Levy and revealed that he has turned down a number of offers to leave Tottenham Hotspur.

Levy and Pochettino met at a London restaurant on Thursday night amid speculation over the Argentine's future as manager.

Pochettino forcefully dismissed rumours he could quit Tottenham after tomorrow's north London derby against Arsenal and insisted Levy knew the strength of his commitment to the club after he rejected approaches from rivals.

The 47-year-old would not name the clubs, but it is understood that Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid have tried to lure him away at different times.

Asked if he had turned down offers to leave Tottenham, Pochettino said: "Yes. Plenty. Plenty in five years, and Daniel knows. Some, not all! From everywhere. Daniel knows very well how our commitment with the club is.

It's massive, it's more than what is normal.

"It's normal to get offers. If you ask (Pep) Guardiola, if you ask (Jurgen) Klopp, if you ask the best managers.

"For sure, Guardiola is working in City and receives a call from a different club. Or like Klopp, or like a different manager.

"It does not make it special to me. You asked me and that is my honest answer. But I don't say it, so you use my words to say how good I am because I said 'no'."

Tempted

Pochettino signed a five-year contract with Tottenham last summer and claimed he had not yet been tempted to leave.

Questioned on whether he had come close to accepting any of the offers, he replied: "No. No because last year when I signed the contract here, it was because I wanted to help the club to finish the stadium and to move into the stadium.

"That was my personal commitment with Daniel. In that moment one year ago, it would have been easy to say, 'OK, we've been here four years, let's find another challenge and move on because always people at Tottenham will remember us very nicely.'

"But we showed our commitment with the club and personally with Daniel.

"Of course, if you analyse last season, we need to improve in the Premier League this season.

"In the last part of last season we went a little bit down, but we kept the season alive and the perception was good because we progressed in the Champions League. But now we need to try to push again. That is why we need to be on the same page - the club, Daniel and us in our vision and plans for the future."

Pochettino's desire to keep pushing forward resulted in periods of frustration over the summer, when he appeared annoyed by progress in the transfer market and suggested his job title should be changed from manager back to head coach.

Asked where he learnt of Tottenham's Champions League draw on Thursday night, Pochettino said: "I was in London having dinner with Daniel. It was very good.

"We needed a conversation this week and it was very positive. Most important is to help the club to be on the same page. Most important is communication.

"It was a very good exercise to have better communication, to make things clear. Always the intention was to help the club.

Intention

"The intention in my posture or my speech or my decision was always to try to make the best for the club. There were no personal intentions. It was always trying to help the club, help the team, and it was good to listen from Daniel that we are on the same page, that is the most important.

"Of course, sometimes our vision on the professional side is not the same, but our personal relationship is still strong."

Two bookmakers this week suspended betting on Pochettino being the next manager to leave his job, while a national radio host claimed he had heard rumours that the former Southampton man would leave after the Arsenal game.

But Pochettino hit back by saying: "What can I say about a stupid rumour?

After five years, now I start the sixth and you know how we worked in the summer to try to rebuild and update.

"I'm going to be here Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, my plan is to travel and then Friday again to London, meeting with Daniel.

"We're going to watch some national team games live and then the following Monday preparing for the new week.

"I am very happy to be here, very proud. Five years ago, we started a project at a very different club and now we are one of the best clubs in the world.

"We have played in the final of the Champions League and now the aim is to remain competitive for the future." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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