English Premier League Sport

Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham manager wants 20 years in charge

Mauricio Pochettino says he hopes to be Tottenham boss for 20 years and perhaps finish his career with the club.

The 46-year-old Argentine has guided Spurs to fifth, third, second and third in his four completed league seasons since joining from Southampton in 2014.

“I hope, or I wish to be here 20 years and decide to leave or to finish my career here,” said Pochettino.

“I am so focused here, and want to help the club to achieve what the club want to be in history.”

He added: “It would be fantastic. I am so happy to be here. I am so happy to work in that pressure. Why not?”

Pochettino hopes to emulate the longevity of Arsene Wenger, who was the manager of north London rivals Arsenal for 22 years before leaving at the end of last season.

The Argentine said: “But I don’t know because I need to ask [Wenger] one day, if I have the possibility if he is so happy in the way that he finished. What I saw from my point of view, it was so unfair how the people treated him.”

Pochettino, who signed a new five-year contract in May last year, has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid, both of whom currently have temporary managers.

‘Spurs need to operate in a different way to win titles’

In his news conference before Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg with Chelsea, Pochettino suggested that Spurs might “need to operate in a different way” to win trophies, having not won silverware since the 2008 League Cup.

This season Spurs are in contention for the league title and are through to the Champions League last 16, Carabao Cup semi-finals and FA Cup fourth round.

“At the moment it is fantastic, but we will see if it is enough to challenge in the next five years,” he said.

Spurs made no signings in the summer, becoming the first Premier League club to do so since the current transfer window system was adopted in 2003.

They were due to move into their new 62,062-seat stadium at the start of this season but there is still no date for the official opening.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has said the construction of the stadium “won’t directly impact” on the club’s transfer policy.

“After nearly five years the club is at a different level, but how we operate in five years didn’t change,” Pochettino added on Monday.

“At the moment we operate in the same way as five years ago when we arrived. Maybe we can win some titles but it is going to be a tough job to do because in that situation every club in the last five years was improving a lot.

“I saw a stat that in the last 10 years we were bottom of the spending list in Europe. We are doing a fantastic job but if we want to be real contenders we need to operate in a different way in the future.

“The most important thing is I accepted the challenge when Daniel Levy called me to offer me a contract. He was clear, him and [owner] Joe Lewis, they said to me ‘In the first season at the new stadium we need a team to finish in the top four the season after.’ We are in advance. Sometimes I laugh when people say we need to win a trophy. Yes (we do), but we are in advance.

“We are in an amazing position, the club is finishing one of the best stadiums in the world, the team is so competitive.”

Pochettino believes his players need to adopt a strong mental toughness to add to their fluent passing football.

“In the last four or five years we play so well, the people enjoy a lot watching us but we need in some moments to be, I don’t know if the word is naughty, but smart in how you compete and that we still miss. But we have the opportunity in the next few months to show we are capable to be more competitive,” he said.

The Argentine feels his team have progressed considerably from the May 2016 league game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in which they lost a 2-0 lead and drew 2-2, which handed the 2015-16 title to Leicester.

“We were nice kids playing football, now we are more mature, more competitive,” he said. “We will see if that is enough to win titles. We grow a lot in the last five years and I think this game was important to learn a lot.”

Asked about potentially signing players in this month’s transfer window, Pochettino said: “We know summer is difficult, but winter is worse and it is going to be difficult. I do not expect to add players but we are going to try.”

Source: BBC

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