Pochettino on becoming Man United manager: “I cannot answer”

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Mauricio Pochettino has been asked about rumors linking him with the now vacant managerial position at Manchester United.

[ MORE: Bookies odds on new manager ]  

After Jose Mourinho was fired Tuesday, Tottenham’s Pochettino has reportedly become United’s top target

Speaking to reporters ahead of Spurs’ League Cup quarterfinal against Arsenal on Wednesday, Pochettino addressed the reports that the Old Trafford club want him as their long-term boss.

“First of all I want to send my best wishes to him,” Pochettino said. “I have a very good relationship with him and it is sad news It’s not my business what happens at another club. I only send my best wishes to Jose… After five years, there’s a lot of rumors that happen about my position here. I cannot answer this question. It’s not my business what happens in another club. I’m so focused on delivering my best job in this club. My business is trying to ensure the best job at this club. I’m focused and focused tomorrow on delivering my job. What more do I need to say [to fans]?”

Not exactly a denial there from Poch…

[ MORE: Mourinho fired by United ]  

Why have these links with Pochettino been so strong?

There’s no denying the Argentine boss has worked wonders at Southampton and Tottenham since he arrived in England over five years ago. He promotes youth, has a clear high-pressing philosophy, works to a budget and takes no nonsense from players.

He has also met with Sir Alex Ferguson for lunches in the past and in Fergie’s last season as United’s manager in 2013 he praised Pochettino’s Southampton highly.

In many ways this would be the next logical step for Pochettino in his career. But then again, would it?

Spurs have Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and others yet to hit their prime, they have a brand new stadium they are about to move into, Pochettino is lauded by fans and pundits alike and there isn’t that much pressure on him, despite his failure to win a trophy at Spurs.

Is a move to United, an ailing giant lacking direction with a muddled approach from high-ranking officials, a step up?

Of course, United are historically a “bigger club” than Spurs in many metrics, but Pochettino must be careful if he wishes to try and be United’s savior. David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Mourinho have all tried and failed, and although United still have a huge pull due to their rich history, success and global reach, there are so many issues behind-the-scenes and a total restructure is needed in terms of their soccer operations.

One thing we do know: Daniel Levy will not allow Pochettino to leave easily and have one of the best managers in Tottenham’s history taken by a direct Premier League rival.

FOLLOW LIVE: Southampton v. Derby County

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Southampton and Derby County chase the final spot in the fourth round proper of the 2018-19 FA Cup with a replay at St. Mary’s on Wednesday.

[ FOLLOW: FA Cup scoreboard ]

The clubs drew 2-2 at Pride Park on Jan. 5, with a Nathan Redmond 2-0 lead going to waste for the Premier League visitors.

The victor gets a trip to the Crown Ground to face League One’s Accrington Stanley on Jan. 26.

Full fourth round fixture list

Jan. 25
Arsenal v. Manchester United

Jan. 26
Accrington Stanley v. Derby County or Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v. West Bromwich Albion
Bristol City v. Bolton
Doncaster Rovers v. Oldham Athletic
Man City v. Burnley
Middlesbrough v. Newport County
Newcastle United v. Watford
Portsmouth v. Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City v. Gillingham
Shrewsbury Town v. Wolves
Millwall v. Everton
AFC Wimbledon v. West Ham United

Jan. 27
Crystal Palace v. Spurs
Chelsea v. Sheffield Wednesday

Jan. 28
Barnet v. Brentford

Leeds’ Bielsa admits he spied “all the rivals”; How widespread is spying?

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Managerial darling Marcelo Bielsa spoke out Wednesday as fallout continues from a Leeds United scout caught spying on Derby County last week.

Bielsa says he’s spied on every team the club has played in the Championship this season.

[ MORE: Neymar praises Weah ]

How rare is this? And how big of a role has it played in Leeds’ 4-point lead in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League? From the BBC:

“I observed all the rivals we played against and watched the training sessions of all opponents,” he said. “All the information I need to clarify, I gather it without watching the training session of the opponent, so why did I send someone to watch them? Just because I thought I wasn’t violating the norm. I gathered information that I can obtain in another way.

“We feel guilty if we don’t work enough, it [watching the opponents train] allows us to have less anxiety and in my case I am stupid enough to allow this kind of behavior.”

The 63-year-old Argentine has spent time at Lille, Lazio, Marseille, Athletic Bilbao, and Espanyol in addition to running the national teams of Argentina and Chile.

It does raise the question of how much spying is done in soccer. We know that the NFL’s New England Patriots cheated during a game against the New York Jets and that MLB teams try to steal signals, but sneaking around a training session… is that okay? Should it be?

55-goal Martinez re-ups with Atlanta through 2023

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Josef Martinez has signed a new deal with Atlanta United, with a contract tying him to the club through the 2023 Major League Soccer season.

Martinez, 25, has 55 goals in 61 games for the Five Stripes since arriving from Torino in 2017, a strike rate unlike anything the Venezuelan had been able to do in his career with the Serie A club, Young Boys, or Caracas.

[ MORE: Neymar praises Weah ]

That development has him happy to lock down a new Designated Player deal in Georgia, one that certainly would raise his transfer value. From AtlUtd.com:

“This means a lot to me because of the affection that the fans have shown me, that the fans show all of the players. It’s unique,” Martinez said. “They recognize the effort that you give and they know you did everything to win, and I think that’s why we love playing here. I have to thank everyone. My teammates, the city, my family and friends, because this is a dream I’ve always had. I’ve said before that I don’t want to go anywhere because this is my home. You can expect more work, more intensity, because that’s who I am. I want to win. I want to do everything for my teammates and for the city.”

With neither Newcastle nor Real Betis ready to meet Atlanta’s transfer fee for Miguel Almiron, the Five Stripes are in a bit of a bind with a reported deal for expected DP Pity Martinez despite having the league maximum three DPs in Martinez, Almiron, and Ezequiel Barco. Perhaps the European clubs are trying to force Atlanta’s hand.

Men In Blazers Podcast: De Gea heroics; Liverpool, Man City wins

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Rog and Davo applaud David De Gea‘s goalkeeping heroics in Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham. Plus, wins for Liverpool and City in the title race.

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