Pochettino: I could not quit Tottenham following final loss
Spurs manager says he would have left after win Rose will not be rushed into accepting a move
Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he would have quit Tottenham Hotspur had they won the Champions League final – but could not turn his back on the club after such heartache.
Tottenham’s hopes of a first European Cup were crushed when they lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid last month. Striker Harry Kane cannot bear to watch the game back and has still to come to terms with the disappointment.
Pochettino has revealed he was ready to walk away if Spurs had lifted the trophy but the Argentine, speaking in Singapore ahead of his side’s International Champions Cup tie against Juventus tomorrow, said such a near miss had only deepened his determination to lead the club to success. “I am always going to prioritise the club over myself,” said Pochettino, who was linked with the Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus jobs this year.
“Maybe if it was a different result after the final you can think: ‘OK, maybe this is a moment to leave the club and give them the possibility of a new chapter with new staff.’
“But after the final I felt this was not great to finish like this. I’m not a person that avoids facing problems. I love a massive challenge and now to rebuild that mentality, that is exciting and motivates me a lot.”
Asked if the situation could have been different had Spurs beaten Liverpool, he said: “For sure. You know very well when you touch glory you behave differently or you feel different and the challenge becomes different.”
Kane is not certain he will ever fully get over the Liverpool defeat, but defended Pochettino’s controversial decision to start him after seven weeks out ahead of semi-final hat-trick hero Lucas Moura.
“It was a tough one to take. When you get to those big games and you don’t quite perform the way you know you can, that’s always the bit that hurts you the most,” he said. “We know it was there for the taking and that’s something we’ve had to think about over the summer.
“Those type of losses always stay with you for a while, I don’t think you ever fully get over them. But it makes you stronger, it makes you more determined. I haven’t [watched it back]. I don’t want to watch it. As a player, you know when you could have done better.
“The gaffer made a decision on what he thought was the best for the team and it obviously didn’t work out in our favour.”
Kane said the challenge now was for Spurs – who lost 13 league games last season en route to finishing fourth, 27 points behind champions Manchester City – to become more consistent. “We know we could have done a lot better in the league last season,” he said.
“We need to try to be more consistent. When you look at City and Liverpool, that’s what they were last season and it’s down to us to match that, if not better it.”
Meanwhile, it is understood Danny Rose will not be rushed into finding a new club, despite missing Tottenham’s pre-season tour of Asia. Spurs confirmed this week that Rose, along with Vincent Janssen and Georges-kevin Nkoudou, would not travel with the rest of the squad “to explore prospective opportunities with other clubs”.
The England left-back, who is contracted to Spurs until 2021, has not got anything lined up and will not be forced into accepting any offer he is unsure about.
With England’s top clubs yet to bid for Rose, 29, who Tottenham value at around £20 million, a move abroad is rated as the most likely scenario if he leaves this summer, with Paris St-germain and Juventus linked with moves for Rose.
Uncertainty also surrounds the future of playmaker Christian Eriksen, who Pochettino said had undergone a small groin procedure after the Champions League final.
Fighter: Mauricio Pochettino (right) is determined to rebuild his squad