Po­chet­tino: I cel­e­brated United goal back in ’99

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Football - JONATHAN VEAL Foot­ball writer

TOT­TEN­HAM boss Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino, the favourite to be­come Manch­ester United’s next per­ma­nent man­ager, has admitted to cel­e­brat­ing one of their most fa­mous goals.

Po­chet­tino is thought to be United’s first choice to take over from care­taker man­ager Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer, who is hold­ing the fort fol­low­ing Jose Mour­inho’s sack­ing last month.

The Ar­gen­tinian – an Es­panyol player at the time – has re­vealed he was at the Nou Camp in 1999 as Sol­sk­jaer’s in­jury-time goal against Bay­ern Mu­nich won the Red Devils the Cham­pi­ons League.

The pair will go head-to-head at Wem­b­ley to­mor­row as Spurs host United in the Pre­mier League.

“I have good mem­o­ries be­cause I re­mem­ber when he scored after 90 min­utes at the Nou Camp, I was with Tony Jimenez, my goal­keep­ing coach, we were then at the Nou Camp in 1999,” he said.

“I re­mem­ber him when he scored the se­cond goal in the in­jury-time and how I shouted the goal of Manch­ester United, that was unbelievable. We were neu­tral peo­ple watch­ing a fantastic game. I have good mem­o­ries of him.

“On Sun­day, we are go­ing to meet at Wem­b­ley when 20 years ago I was shout­ing a goal that he scored for Manch­ester United and now we are go­ing to play them at Wem­b­ley.”

Po­chet­tino does think Sol­sk­jaer will have added mo­ti­va­tion to beat the man who is the favourite to get his job in the sum­mer.

Sol­sk­jaer has in­ti­mated he would like the job on a per­ma­nent ba­sis and a win in the tough­est ex­am­i­na­tion of his spell so far could earn him some credit.

“The mo­ti­va­tion is al­ways go­ing to be there,” said Po­chet­tino. “Of course, when you’re a man­ager or coach you can­not be fo­cused on all the ru­mours. The most im­por­tant thing is the mo­ti­va­tion that we have to do our job in our best way. Of course Manch­ester is go­ing to come on Sun­day try­ing to win.

“Of course for him it’s a mas­sive mo­ti­va­tion or chal­lenge to man­age Manch­ester United, like for me it’s a mas­sive chal­lenge to be in front for this foot­ball club, Tot­ten­ham.

“Al­ways the mo­ti­va­tion is to win be­cause we’re so com­pet­i­tive. We’re peo­ple that love to win and hate to lose, and al­ways when you play a friendly or a com­pet­i­tive game like Sun­day al­ways it’s about win­ning.

“No one wants to lose. The mo­ti­va­tion is go­ing to be there be­cause in the Pre­mier League al­ways the mo­ti­va­tion is about win­ning.”

Mean­while, Po­chet­tino com­pared Christian Erik­sen to his beloved dog Sansa. Erik­sen has been bid­ing his time on sign­ing a new deal amid re­ported in­ter­est from Real Madrid.

“Christian is a very special per­son and you need to give him free­dom, like on the pitch,” said Po­chet­tino, who reg­u­larly waxes lyri­cal about his Rhode­sian Ridge­back.

“You can­not put him in a box. You need to give free­dom and trust him. Like my dog, in the park. I trust my dog. I say, ‘Go, I trust you’.

“Christian is a clever per­son and of course there’s go­ing to be a de­ci­sion from him, from the club, from dif­fer­ent parts and I hope he can be com­mit­ted to the club long-term.”

Clive Brun­skill/ Getty Im­ages

Spurs man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino

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