Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he was in touch with former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson following his illness last year, as he spoke of 'admiration' for a football legend he views as a mentor.
ochettino admitted it was 'his dream' to share a lunch with Ferguson in the summer of 2016, with that meeting sparking speculation that he could be in line to take over as United manager.
Those rumours have resurfaced following Jose Mourinho's sacking last month, with Pochettino not hiding his respect for Ferguson in an interview with Sky Sports.
"I cannot hide my admiration and relationship with him. He was one of the people I admired the most, an inspiration," said Pochettino. "We had a very nice lunch in London (in 2016) and since then we have kept a good relationship. We are football people.
"Did you send best wishes when he was ill? Yes, I did. Now maybe Ferguson has given United a new energy. He is the best manager in the history of football. To see him every day is massive. He is an encyclopaedia of football."
Pochettino's Tottenham take on a United side led by interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday, as the two leading contenders to be the full time manager at Old Trafford go head-to-head at Wembley.
United dominated Tottenham in their clashes during Ferguson's reign at Old Trafford, but Pochettino believes the tide has been turned in recent years,
"We've beaten them the last three times at home in the Premier League - twice at White Hart Lane and once at Wembley," added Pochettino.
"I don't know what happened in the past, but games like Tuesday's semi-final against Chelsea please me a lot. Maybe our performance wasn't the best but we competed very well.
"The team is very competitive, that is true. I don't know if that was the case in the past between the two teams."