Mauricio Pochettino is open to returning to Chelsea if Tottenham call him back.
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will face off in the 11th round of the 2023-24 Premier League (PL) season at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, on July 7 at 5:00 a.m. ET. Spurs are currently in second place with 26 points. With a win, they will move into sole possession of first place. Chelsea, on the other hand, is in 13th place with 12 points. With three more points, they’ll be in 10th place.
The matchup is notable for being the first time Pochettino has faced Tottenham as an opponent since leaving Spurs. It’s a London derby between Tottenham and Chelsea, but it feels right to call it the Pochettino derby.레모나토토
Pochettino has been a favorite among Korean soccer fans. He managed Tottenham from 2014-15 to midway through the 2019-20 season. He is credited with bringing Tottenham back to their glory days.
One of the biggest reasons why South Korean fans love Pochettino is Son Heung-min. Pochettino brought him to Tottenham after recognizing his performance at Bayer Leverkusen.
In his first season, he struggled to adapt to the PL and wanted to return to the Bundesliga, but Pochettino held onto him. Pochettino believed in him, realized his potential, and developed him into one of the best players in the league. Clearly, he laid the foundation for Son’s success in the PL.
Alongside Son, the DESK line of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, and Dele Alli was one of the best offenses in the PL. It was under Pochettino’s leadership that Tottenham went from being considered mid-table to joining the PL’s big six. Despite not winning any trophies, Pochettino has made Spurs history with a PL runner-up finish and a UEFA Champions League (UCL) runner-up finish in the club’s history.
Many Spurs fans still remember Pochettino’s style of soccer. Pochettino himself has fond memories of his time at Spurs. “It’s really special. I’m going back after four years to a place where we made amazing memories together. I can’t lie. When I left the club, it was a difficult situation. Now I have the opportunity to meet the people who still work there,” he said of meeting Spurs as enemies.
“It will be an interesting moment. “The most important thing is that we can’t forget the moments we had together. My feelings and views on the club I’ve been on an unbelievable journey with won’t change,” he said, adding that while he may be Chelsea’s managerial nemesis professionally, he holds Tottenham close to his heart as a person.
On his relationship with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, he added: “He is a very important person because he gave me and the coaches the opportunity to be at Tottenham. It was not only a professional relationship, but a personal relationship. We had six years together and made so many memories,” he said.
“I want to say thank you for the great times we had together, like building the new stadium (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium). We played at White Hart Lane, Wembley Stadium, and Milton Keynes in one season. It was amazing to be a small part of such an amazing project.”
On the pitch, Pochettino has to deal with Son as an enemy, but he still has plenty of affection for the South Korean. “We all know he is a fantastic player. He’s one of the best players in the league,” Pochettino said, giving him a thumbs-up, but adding, “I hope it’s not a good day for him. I don’t play center back. Our center backs have to stop him,” he said, wishing his protégé bad luck in this match. The Chelsea manager’s comments are inevitable.
Pochettino then made a statement that could mean a return to Tottenham. “Hopefully I can stay at Chelsea until I die,” he said, “but still, in football you never know the future. Tottenham is a club like that. If I’m not working, and one day Tottenham want me back, why not?”, making it clear that he is open to a return to Spurs.
“Who knows the future, Tottenham is a club like Southampton, Espanyol, Newell’s Old Boys (for me). Football is like life, you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m trying to enjoy today more. I don’t look at the long-term future too often. I don’t see why not,” he said, adding that he will keep all possibilities open.
Pochettino has been linked with Tottenham before during his time at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Levy personally pushed for Pochettino’s return to the club, but it ultimately fell through.
Of course, he is focused on Chelsea for now. Pochettino is hoping to have as much success at Chelsea as he did at Tottenham. “I hope we can reach the same level as we did at Tottenham. If we do, it will mean we are doing really well. I can’t lie now. It’s a tough situation. I did something special at Tottenham, but I want to enjoy it calmly and hopefully we can win,” he said, adding that he also wants to succeed at Chelsea.
The only way Pochettino will be linked with Spurs again is if the club is in crisis. It’s hard to imagine Spurs being in crisis right now. Pochettino has also spoken very highly of Spurs under current manager Enze Postecoglou. Spurs’ run to the top of the league has led some to suggest that they should be considered genuine title contenders.
Pochettino agreed: “I think so. Tottenham are doing a fantastic job with Mr. Postecoglou and the coaching staff. It’s a really good team with very good players. I feel they can compete for the title. It’s early in the season, but they are showing qualities,” he said, acknowledging Spurs’ strength.
Postecoglou also recognized Pochettino’s achievements. “There is no doubt that Pochettino has had an unbelievable impact on this football club. He took the club to the top of the UCL, he came close to winning the league, there’s no doubt about his achievements. The people I work with here are still the same people who worked with him,” he said, showing his respect for Pochettino.
Anyone looking at recent form would be inclined to favor Spurs, but it’s important to remember that Chelsea have been very strong against Tottenham. Spurs broke the Chelsea jinx in February this year with a 2-0 win in the league, but it had been four years since they had beaten them since January 2019. In 13 official matches, including cup competitions, they are winless (excluding penalty shootouts).
From January 2019 to February 2023, Tottenham didn’t have many periods where the team was, quite frankly, rolling. It wasn’t until the arrival of Antonio Conte that things picked up until they finished the 2021-22 season in fourth place.
It’s different now. Spurs are playing their best football since Son joined the club. And Son is at the center of it. The PL Player of the Month for September continues to be in great form. After scoring a goal and an assist against Fulham, he opened the scoring in the previous game against Crystal Palace.
Heung-min doesn’t have a great record against Chelsea so far. In 17 meetings, he has won five and lost eight. He’s strong against all of the PL’s big six, but he’s only scored two goals against Chelsea. He hasn’t scored against Chelsea in a whopping five years since his 50 meter dribble in November 2018. He needs to break the Chelsea jinx if Tottenham are to move closer to victory.
Unfortunately for Pochettino, the English public is predicting a Spurs victory. Chris Sutton, who works for the BBC, predicted a 2-0 win for Spurs. “It’s fairly easy to predict how the game will go. Spurs are unbeaten and top of the table, but Chelsea are very shaky. With Pochettino returning to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, I have my doubts. I will still back Tottenham. I still think they are a better team than Chelsea,” he said, claiming that it will be a one-sided game.
Pochettino’s leadership is understandably being questioned. Pochettino recently said, “The fans have to stay with us. It’s difficult and normal to keep emotions (in the midst of a poor run). They will be frustrated not to win, but the message I want to give is to believe in us and trust us.” Chelsea have spent an astronomical amount of money this summer and have failed to produce results.