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

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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.

Pochettino reckons he was building a title-winning dynasty at Spurs (Image: PA) Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles

“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.

Pochettino has made his peace with Levy (Image: Action Images via Reuters) Read More Related Articles

“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 likened what he was building at Tottenham to Michael Jordan's success in Chicago (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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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“We are very receptive to listening because every single conversation we can learn from and maybe we can see a motivation to go with them.”

Pochettino has been making the ­effort to help those eager to tap into his knowledge during his s­abbatical. “I’ve had many conversations through Zoom and Skype,” he said.

“With ­different people. I was in ­contact with a lot of people that wanted to talk to us. Wanted to hear from us, our ideas.”

Now he is ready to apply those ideas to a new project – with his emotions ready to handle facing Spurs in ­opposition.

“It’s going to be special, for sure,” he said. “But it’s going to be a game that we’d try to win as the professionals we are.

“Of course, with all my ­respect for the club, the people and the fans. It would be ­special to come back to ­Tottenham.”


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