Friday 14 December 2018

Pochettino planning for more delight at Wembley

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Reuters
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Reuters

Ben Findon

Mauricio Pochettino has paraded his credentials for an eventual tilt at the England job ahead of Tottenham's crucial test of character on one of Europe's grandest stages.

Spurs take on Champions League holders Real Madrid in the Bernabeu tomorrow and it's a magnificent opportunity for the Argentinian to gilt-edge his reputation as one of Europe's most impressive young coaches.

Pochettino is not thinking of switching to the international arena just yet, but in an extract from his new book the Tottenham manager makes his long-term ambitions clear.

"If I were to be an international manager one day, I'd relish the opportunity to coach the England national team. I've heard that I've been considered for the job before, but I don't know if there was any truth in it," he wrote.

Pochettino (45), who was in charge of Southampton before moving to north London in 2014, points out that he has already played a prominent role in nurturing young English talent.

"I'd be reunited with loads of familiar faces: Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Adam Lallana," he said.


With Gareth Southgate firmly ensconced in the England dugout, the FA will not be contemplating a replacement just yet, but the national set-up are known to be impressed by Pochettino.

"The English are brave, honest and aggressive and the good ones want to learn," Pochettino wrote.

Brave and aggressive: That will also be the mantra heading into Tottenham's potentially epic night in Madrid, where his team will be able to measure themselves against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.

Pochettino said: "From the beginning we will be brave and aggressive and play to win the game. We will press high, try to play in the opposition's half. That's how we feel football should be played.

"We are going to Madrid to play football and be Tottenham. It's a good opportunity for us. I am so excited and motivated to go and put on a performance."

The Tottenham manager was speaking after the relief of his side securing a belated first league win at their temporary Wembley home. It came at the expense of well-organised Bournemouth, who might have at least shared the spoils but for two stunning saves by home goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Christian Eriksen gave Spurs their first league win in four attempts at the national stadium with a composed finish early in the second-half and Lloris helped ensure there was not another slip-up, performing heroics to scoop away a deflected corner before outwitting Jermain Defoe in a one-on-one. (© The Daily Telegraph)

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