Pochet­tino ex­pected to have more time at Spurs

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Jeremy Wil­son

Mauri­cio Pochet­tino has said he ex­pected more time to turn last sea­son around at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and sug­gested that the club lost faith in his vi­sion fol­low­ing the “mis­takes” he made.

Pochet­tino was sacked last Novem­ber, just five months af­ter guid­ing Spurs to the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, and, in an in­ter­view yes­ter­day with the Span­ish news­pa­per El Pais, the 48-year-old also ap­peared to back­track over pre­vi­ous claims that he would never man­age Barcelona.

Jose Mour­inho re­placed Pochet­tino as Tot­ten­ham man­ager and, with the club hav­ing slipped to 14th in Novem­ber, a strong fin­ish dur­ing Pro­ject Restart lifted them to a fi­nal Premier League po­si­tion of sixth.

Of his Tot­ten­ham de­par­ture, Pochet­tino said: “Af­ter the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, four years in the top four, two years with­out sign­ings, a dif­fer­ent man­age­ment strat­egy was needed. Some­times the vi­sion of a coach­ing staff is not ac­cepted by the club man­age­ment. We an­tic­i­pated what could hap­pen.

“You need to fall, be down and then go up. But Tot­ten­ham made the de­ci­sion to sep­a­rate us af­ter 5½ years. I un­der­stand that it is a long time.

“I was happy at Tot­ten­ham and I signed a con­tract. And we fin­ished very well, the re­la­tion­ship is im­pec­ca­ble. I al­ways say, with­out false hu­mil­ity, that we too have made mis­takes that have led to what hap­pened. Al­though, we did ex­pect a lit­tle more sup­port or re­as­sur­ance to re­verse the sit­u­a­tion. But the club line was go­ing another way. Respite was needed from both sides.”

Barcelona, who are coached by Quique Se­tien, have just lost their La Liga ti­tle to Real Madrid and are pre­par­ing to play Napoli in the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League.

Pochet­tino, who played for Barcelona’s city ri­vals Es­panyol, had pre­vi­ously said that he would never coach Barca and “would pre­fer to work on my farm in Ar­gentina than to go and work in cer­tain places”.

Of that 2018 com­ment, he said:

“We have to ex­plain it well. I was in Barcelona that year and I met [Barcelona pres­i­dent Josep] Bar­tomeu in a bar. We greeted each other be­cause we were tak­ing the chil­dren to the same school and we were talk­ing for five min­utes.

“That gen­er­ated a ru­mour that set off alarms be­cause there were more teams that wanted us, and when they asked me I wanted to set­tle it dras­ti­cally. I did not want to dis­re­spect Barcelona. You can say things dif­fer­ently. Es­panyol has made a name for me. But I’m not ar­ro­gant and I didn’t like mak­ing a state­ment like that. In life you never know what will hap­pen.”

Chang­ing tune: Mauri­cio Pochet­tino ap­peared to back­track over claims in 2018 that he would never man­age Barcelona

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