Call it making the rounds: Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is opening up a bit to several outlets on his time at Spurs and what’s ahead for him and his staff.
Let’s start with the last part. Poch and his people are clearly ready to return to duty somewhere but recognize that it has to be the right fit and hold the right ambition.
“The problem is which clubs are top six?” he replies. “The top six always changes. Tottenham is not in the top six, Arsenal is not in the top six. You need to respect all the clubs. All the clubs are working so hard and investing money. Every season clubs have ambition to be top six or top four. I don’t think you can underestimate any club.”
This will only serve to pour fuel on the rumors that he’s the No. 1 target should the takeover of Newcastle United be completed this summer.
And he sounds ready to return to the scene.
“Of course it is painful when you leave a club after five and a half years, working so hard to develop and achieve objectives,” he said. “We are full of energy in our bodies, in our minds, to try and provide a new project with all our knowledge and show our passion in football.”
Back to the silverware. One of his best chances at a trophy was last year’s UEFA Champions League Final against Liverpool, when a controversial penalty call put Spurs behind after just two minutes. Pochettino felt his team played well enough to win, something that their 65 percent possession and 16-14 shots edge argues for him.
But Spurs fell 2-0 and the disappointment seemed to carry over to the 2019-20 Premier League season, something Pochettino doesn’t deny in describing his post-match anguish and more.
“I was so disappointed. It was difficult to stop crying, to stop feeling bad. It was a massive achievement to get there. And you can use the example of Liverpool after they lost to Real Madrid (in the final) the season before — that was a massive motivation and inspiration to be back in the future. I knew that after five years and with the way we were working, and all the things that happened, it was going to be difficult… (it) changed a little bit in our minds the possibility to stay open to design another plan, or a strategy to build again, a different chapter… a different project should be difficult for us to maintain, to keep improving.”
Pochettino also lifted the lid on the end of his time at Spurs, which he says was the right decision, and implied that the club was thrown off from its full potential by the convoluted move from White Hart Lane to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by way of several go-betweens.
The comments are collected and interpreted by The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke, if you’d like to see them in full, right here.