Mauricio Pochettino insists that he is delighted that Jose Mourinho has replaced him as manager of Tottenham and supports the new Spurs boss to succeed.
Mourinho succeeded Pochettino last November, ending Argentina’s five-year reign that saw Tottenham reach the Champions League final a few months earlier.
Although Mourinho’s tenure has been marred by long-term injuries to key players, the results have hardly improved and many have been frustrated by the new manager’s tactics.
Nevertheless, Pochettino insists that the Portuguese is the right person to advance the Spurs and continue his project.
“I am so happy that he is in Tottenham to replace me,” he admitted. “And of course, I’m also happy to leave the club as we have left, with all the facilities that are the best in the world.
“Of course, he is very grateful for the way we helped build the club, which is now his club.”
For much of his management time, Pochettino has been linked to jobs that Mourinho had, including Real Madrid when he was in charge of Espanyol and then Manchester United last season.
And Pochettino revealed the moment when he thought he would be Mourinho’s successor to the Bernabeu, which led the Portuguese to joke with him.
“With Jose, we have known each other for a long time,” said Pochettino. “When I was coach of Espanyol and he was at Real Madrid, we had a very good relationship.
“He is a high level coach. And in life, look at what’s going on. I still think I would replace it.
“He was at Real Madrid. I say, “Oh, maybe one day I can take your place at Real Madrid”, and watch how life goes! He took my place at Tottenham. Incredible, huh?
“There have been reports that I may be on Real Madrid’s radar in case Jose leaves. It was in the past, years ago.
“We (Espanyol) were going to play at Real Madrid and during the press conference before the match, the media asked me about it. I said that I would never use this type of rumor to sell myself. To say, yes … maybe someday. No, I am very humble and realistic. I don’t like to play with it.
“I said,” Oh, I don’t think about that, and by the way, my kids sleep in Espanyol pajamas every night. It is therefore very difficult for me to think of changing. I am more than committed to Espanyol. “
“So when I got to the stadium, José was waiting for me with a bag with a very nice bottle of French red wine and two Real Madrid kits, shirts and shorts. He says, “OK, these are your kids to wear from now on!”.
“We were kidding from there and we had a great relationship.”