Pochettino on Tottenham mistakes, turning down Real Madrid and possibility of taking over at Barcelona

Mauricio Pochettino this weekend opened up on a whole host of topics, including his exit from Tottenham and reopening the door to Barcelona, during an interview with El Pais,

Spurs part with Poch

After surprising the masses in making it all the way to the Champions League final last season, Pochettino and Spurs subsequently endured a nightmare start to the new campaign.

The north Londoners notched just 3 wins from their opening 12 fixtures, a run which left them sitting in a lowly 14th in the Premier League table in mid-November.

Elsewhere, the Lilywhites were also ousted from the League Cup by League Two outfit Colchester, and fell to an absolutely embarrassing 7-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 01: Serge Gnabry of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Muenchen at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 1, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

As such, despite having long been regarded as one of the finest tacticians in England, rumours inevitably began to mount that Mauricio Pochettino was inching towards the Spurs exit door.

It therefore came as little surprise when an official announcement was forthcoming on the 19th of November, confirming that, on the back of a 1-1 stalemate at home to Sheffield United, the Tottenham hierarchy had come to the decision to part ways with their long-time boss.

‘Club was going another way’

Pochettino has since remained out of work, despite links to some of Europe’s top clubs.

And, as outlined above, the Argentine today made use of his time away from the game by opening up on both his managerial past, and potential future, during an in-depth interview with El Pais.

First, Poch was asked directly whether he holds any regrets over his decision to turn down Real Madrid in 2018, whilst still in charge of Spurs.

The 48-year-old, though, assured:

‘I was happy at Tottenham and I signed a contract.’

Pochettino then provided an insight into his Lilywhites dismissal late last year, with the tactician having admitted that mistakes were made by both parties en route to their eventual divorce:

‘And we [his staff and Spurs] finished very well, the relationship is impeccable. I always say, without false humility, that we too made mistakes that led to what happened, although we did expect a little more support or reassurance to reverse the situation.’

He continued:

‘But the club line was going another way and there was wear; respite was needed from both sides.’

‘We work in a result-led environment where it seems that all the things that have a good result are the ones that continue. But, how do you measure what works or not?’

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 17: Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates at the end of the match during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at at Etihad Stadium on April 17, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

‘Only the one who wins or the one who exceeds expectations? 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 knew what could happen.’

‘You need to fall, be down to then go up, but Tottenham made the decision to separate us after five and a half years. I understand that it is a long time.’

Barca future?

Finally, in perhaps the key takeaway from his interview, Pochettino appeared to reopen the door to the possibility of taking over at La Liga giants Barcelona at some point down the line.

The South American has made clear on multiple occasions in the past that he would not consider taking up the reins at the Camp Nou, due to his Espanyol past.

In fact, Poch once went as far as to state:

‘I would prefer to work on my farm in Argentina than go to work in certain places.’

However, when drawn on these very comments during his discussion with El Pais, the former PSG defender backtracked, explaining:

‘I have to explain it well. I was in Barcelona that year and I met [Barca president Josep Maria] 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.’

‘When reporters asked me, I wanted to settle it drastically. I didn’t 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.’

Significantly, Pochettino then opened the door to the possibility of testing his managerial talents with Barcelona at some point down the line:

‘Maybe now I wouldn’t because in life you never know what will happen.’

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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