Football: Pochettino ready for Premier League return, 'happy' that Mourinho replaced him at Tottenham

A 2018 photo shows Pochettino (centre) applauding fans after a match.
A 2018 photo shows Pochettino (centre) applauding fans after a match.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS, AFP) - Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino said he was open to coaching again in England's Premier League and will make a decision on his future based on the kind of project put to him by any potential employer, whether in the top six or not.

The Argentinian took Spurs to the Champions League final last year but his side were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool. He was sacked in November, ending a successful but ultimately trophy-less five and a half years in charge of the club.

Reports in the British media have said the 48-year-old is among the top contenders to replace Steve Bruce at Newcastle United if a proposed Saudi-backed takeover of the club goes through.

"I love England," Pochettino told Sky Sports. "My idea is to keep living in London, but at the same time I'm open to different countries, to listen and see what happens.

"I'm ready and we're a much better coaching staff now. We've learnt a lot from our experiences at Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham. We have a lot to provide to the people that will trust in us in the future," he said of himself and assistant coach Jesus Perez, goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez and others he has brought with him from previous clubs.

He said the status of his next club was not as important as their plans.

"There are two things that are important - one is... the fans that are behind every club," he said. "That's the structure that keeps alive all the companies that provide the entertainment that is football.

"The other is the ideas of the clubs. Every club and company have different cultures, philosophies, ways of working. They all have different plans for success.

"To be successful at one club you need to win the Champions League or Premier League, but for others it's to finish in the top four or six."

Pochettino suggested he was also open to taking over at a club outside England's top six. "The problem is which clubs are top six? The top six always changes. Tottenham is not in the top six, Arsenal is not in the top six," he said.

"You need to respect all the clubs. All the clubs are working so hard and investing money... I don't think you can underestimate any club."

 
 
 

Pochettino also insisted on Friday (May 22) that he was "happy" that Jose Mourinho replaced him as Tottenham coach.

Mourinho took over in November despite the 48-year-old having enjoyed a good spell.

"I am so happy that he is at Tottenham, replacing me," admitted Pochettino who is now officially off the payroll at Spurs after his six-month gardening leave ended.

That leaves him free to take other jobs without the worry of prospective employers having to pay compensation.

"And of course I am happy as well to leave the club in the way that we left it, with all the facilities that are the best in the world.

"For sure, he is very grateful for the way that we helped to build the club, which is now his club."

Pochettino recalled how he and Mourinho, 57, had forged a close relationship during their days as rivals in Spain's La Liga.

"With Jose, we know each other for a long time," he explained.

"When I was the coach of Espanyol, and he was at Real Madrid, we had a very good relationship.

"He's a top coach. And in life, look what happens. I always think I'd replace him.

"He was at Real Madrid. I say, 'Oh, maybe one day I can take your place at Real Madrid', and look at how life works out! He has taken my place at Tottenham. Unbelievable, eh?"