Mauricio Pochettino details feelings on Jose Mourinho replacing him at Tottenham

Mauricio Pochettino can see the funny side of Jose Mourinho taking his job at Spurs – after being tipped to replace the Special One at Real Madrid.

Back in 2012, speculation was rife that the Argentine was going to take Mourinho’s job at the Bernabeu.

Pochettino said: “Espanyol were going to play Real Madrid and in the press conference before the game, the media asked me about that.

“I said my kids are sleeping in Espanyol pyjamas every night so it’s difficult to think about changing!

“When I arrived at the stadium, Jose was waiting for me with a bag with a very nice bottle of French red wine and two kits of Real Madrid shirts and shorts.

“He says, ‘It’s okay, these are for your kids to wear from now on!’

“We were joking from there and we have kept a very good relationship. I am so happy that he is at Tottenham, replacing me.

“In life, look what happens. He was at Real Madrid. I say, ‘Oh, maybe one day I can take your place at Real Madrid’. Now he has taken my place at Tottenham. Unbelievable, eh?”

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Pochettino gives Newcastle boost declaring he’s ready for "the perfect project"

Mauricio Pochettino has given Newcastle’s prospective new owners a huge boost by declaring he is ready for “the perfect project”.

A host of top clubs are also on alert after the 48-year-old Argentine, sacked by Spurs last November, became a free agent this week with his gardening leave at an end.

Pochettino said: “Always, you dream of the perfect club. The perfect project.

“I’m very open to waiting for the seduction of the project rather than the country. It’s about the club and of course the people, the human dimension.”

Mirror Sport revealed last month that should the Newcastle Saudi-backed takeover go through, they will be eyeing up an audacious move for the man that transformed Spurs from Europa League also-rans to Champions League regulars – and finalists.

But Pochettino has also been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

He admitted he and his coaching staff would love to work in the Premier League again.

Pochettino said: “After six months, our tanks are completely full. We are so open. Of course we love England, and the Premier League. We feel very good here. We are still living here in London.

“I am not going to change (my feelings) now because I am not involved in the Premier League. Because I am no longer the Tottenham manager, I am not going to change my vision.

"I still think the Premier League is the best league in the world.

“Of course we have suffered with everything that is going on, this unbelievable situation that we are living.

“There is not a manual that can tell you how you need to behave in this situation.

"But at the same time as the suffering, I have tried with my coaching staff to review everything that we did in the last seven years (including Southampton ) because we never had a break until now.

“It has been an amazing time to review everything, to start to organise again our ideas to plan the future and to try to compete better. To try to learn from our experience and of course looking forward for the next job.

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Pochettino says he was building Last Dance-style title-winning dynasty at Spurs

Locked down in north London, Mauricio Pochettino reflected on the 2014 meeting on Joe Lewis’s yacht that would shoot him into the big time.

The Tottenham owner, ­together with chairman ­Daniel Levy, sold the then-Southampton boss the project that would turn him into one of the hottest managerial properties in Europe.

By the time Pochettino’s tenure was ended six months ago, he had made Spurs ­top-four regulars, reached a Champions League final and ended ‘St Totteringham’s Day’, the point of the season at which – for over 20 years – ­ Arsenal would celebrate ­finishing above their bitter north London rivals.

It had been some ride.

Yet this week brought some much-needed closure on both sides before Pochettino begins his next chapter.

“In the last few days, I was talking with Daniel,” said the refreshed 48-year-old.

“It’s not a problem to explain this – I wanted to translate my ­gratitude, and that of my coaching staff and our families, because he was the person, with the board, that trusted us.

“I’ll always remember the good times.

"I was telling ­Daniel, ‘Our success is also your success because you chose us and you gave us the possibility to build this relationship with the players and staff, all the people at Tottenham and with the fans’.”

While some critics will point to a lack of ­silverware, Pochettino laid the foundations for ­sustained success in the white half of north London.

He also showed he has been keeping up with his Netflix during lockdown.

“I was telling a lot of people, Manchester United in the Ferguson era, the first league title was after seven years,” said ­Pochettino.

"Michael Jordan in The Last Dance – it was after six or seven years that the Chicago Bulls won the first title.

"The project at Tottenham was to finish the ­stadium, prepare the team to ­compete and to try to achieve the top four. We achieved ­everything ahead of schedule.”

Newcastle will be ­hoping they can tempt Pochettino in the same way Lewis and Levy did.

Despite Steve Bruce’s fine job at St James’ Park, Spurs’ meteoric rise under Pochettino is exactly the kind of return the ­Magpies’ potential ­custodians will be ­looking at for their investment.

But given the restrictions he has worked under before at Southampton and Spurs, they should not take it for granted the Argentine will jump at the first sign of money.

Pochettino is as aware as anyone that belts across football will have to be tightened in the post-pandemic world.

“We are going to live in a completely different era in football,” he said. “It’s difficult to know what project is going to be the right project.

"There are many things, at the ­moment, that we have in our minds about how things are going to be after this virus hopefully disappears.

“How are these clubs or companies – because that’s what they are – going to be? It’s a big question mark. That’s why it’s so difficult.

“We are a coaching staff that is open to listening to all the projects, all the people.

“We are learning and ­sharing ideas. You never know when it’s going to be the ­motivation or the inspiration to say, ‘Oh, they are the right people’, and you want to be with them or their club.

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Barcelona plotting surprise swoop for Tottenham’s Juan Foyth

Barcelona are keen on Juan Foyth with the Spurs defender available for transfer this summer.

The 22-year-old Argentine has appeared only eight times for Jose Mourinho this season before the campaign was suspended because of the coronavirus.

He has also not been selected in any of the Spurs boss’s Premier League or Champions League squads.

Foyth now wants to play regular first-team football next season and is understood to have been offered to clubs.

Barcelona ’s interest comes with the Spanish giants ready to offload centre backs Samuel Umtiti or Jean-Clair Todibo. Should they do so Foyth is being seen as a relatively cheap replacement.

He is able to play right back as well as centre back and was highly-rated by Mauricio Pochettino, who signed him in 2017 for just £8million.

Foyth said recently that he was considering his future.

“You always want to play to feel like a player and feel good. It isn’t easy not to play either," he said.

"But I don’t know, we have to wait now for the transfer window to open.

"If I am going to have opportunities here, I will be very comfortable. And if they won’t count on me, the best thing will be to find another club.

"I would like to stay in Europe, all leagues have a high level.

"My wish is to play at the highest level as long as I can. The main thing is to play."

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