Mauricio Pochettino

Sarri sacked
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Sarri sacked: Juventus fire manager after one season

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Sarri sacked: Maurizio Sarri has been fired by Juventus after just one season in charge following the Bianconeri‘s shocking exit from the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on Friday.

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Juventus claimed its ninth straight Serie A title on the final day of the season last week, but bowing out of the one trophy which has eluded the Italian giants during their decade of dominance, at the hands of Lyon no less, was simply too much for chairman Andrea Agnelli to stomach.

The players struggled a great deal to adapt to Sarri’s tactical system and demands, as did Sarri to being back in Serie A, and things never seemed to click in the already-imperfect marriage. Star midfielder Miralem Pjanic summed up the differences between the sides rather succinctly after the loss to Lyon.

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Juve thanked Sarri for his service in a brief statement on the club’s website.

The club would like to thank the coach for having written a new page in Juventus’ history with the victory of the ninth-consecutive championship, the culmination of a personal journey that led him to climb all the divisions of Italian football.

Mauricio Pochettino is the first, and biggest name, currently being bandied about in connection with the Allianz Stadium job. The Argentine has been out of work since he was sacked by Tottenham Hotspur in November, but it stands to reason he did enough at Tottenham to have earned a chance at a club like Juve.

Outside of Cristiano Ronaldo’s mammoth contract, the majority of the squad could be turned over and refreshed with little to no trouble. Juve have never been shy to spend big money for big stars — a luxury Pochettino didn’t exactly enjoy at Spurs — so if they are interested in Pochettino, the prospect of a project on the scale of Juventus will almost certainly grab his attention.

Pochettino open to Premier League job outside top six; Laments UCL loss

Mauricio Pochettino
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Call it making the rounds: Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is opening up a bit to several outlets on his time at Spurs and what’s ahead for him and his staff.

Let’s start with the last part. Poch and his people are clearly ready to return to duty somewhere but recognize that it has to be the right fit and hold the right ambition.

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Certainly, you’d think it would have to hold a good chance of silverware in the near future, but Pochettino gave fans of non-traditional powers hope when he was asked about whether possibly staying in England would only include accepting a job at a top six club.

From Sky Sports:

“The problem is which clubs are top six?” he replies. “The top six always changes. Tottenham is not in the top six, Arsenal is not in the top six. You need to respect all the clubs. All the clubs are working so hard and investing money. Every season clubs have ambition to be top six or top four. I don’t think you can underestimate any club.”

This will only serve to pour fuel on the rumors that he’s the No. 1 target should the takeover of Newcastle United be completed this summer.

And he sounds ready to return to the scene.

“Of course it is painful when you leave a club after five and a half years, working so hard to develop and achieve objectives,” he said. “We are full of energy in our bodies, in our minds, to try and provide a new project with all our knowledge and show our passion in football.”

Back to the silverware. One of his best chances at a trophy was last year’s UEFA Champions League Final against Liverpool, when a controversial penalty call put Spurs behind after just two minutes. Pochettino felt his team played well enough to win, something that their 65 percent possession and 16-14 shots edge argues for him.

But Spurs fell 2-0 and the disappointment seemed to carry over to the 2019-20 Premier League season, something Pochettino doesn’t deny in describing his post-match anguish and more. From The Athletic:

“I was so disappointed. It was difficult to stop crying, to stop feeling bad. It was a massive achievement to get there. And you can use the example of Liverpool after they lost to Real Madrid (in the final) the season before — that was a massive motivation and inspiration to be back in the future. I knew that after five years and with the way we were working, and all the things that happened, it was going to be difficult… (it) changed a little bit in our minds the possibility to stay open to design another plan, or a strategy to build again, a different chapter… a different project should be difficult for us to maintain, to keep improving.”

Pochettino also lifted the lid on the end of his time at Spurs, which he says was the right decision, and implied that the club was thrown off from its full potential by the convoluted move from White Hart Lane to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by way of several go-betweens.

The comments are collected and interpreted by The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke, if you’d like to see them in full, right here.

Report: Pochettino lined up by Newcastle

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Newcastle United’s potential new owners reportedly want Mauricio Pochettino to become their new manager.

Per the reports, including this one from our partners at Sky Sports, Newcastle are willing to pay Pochettino $23.6 million a year which would make him the second-highest paid manager in the Premier League after Pep Guardiola.

Steve Bruce is Newcastle’s current manager and although he has led them to midtable safety this season, fans are far from happy with their style of play.

The Saudi Arabian led ownership group have made Pochettino their top target and the former Southampton and Tottenham boss is said to be keen on a return to the Premier League. Per the report, if Newcastle can’t snare Pochettino then former boss Rafael Benitez is keen on a return.

But it is clear Pochettino is their top target and on the surface this seems like a very decent fit for all concern, contingent on a few things.

1) Pochettino is given the transfer funds to totally rebuild this team. 2) Newcastle’s new owners have realistic expectations.

If Pochettino is handed the cash to bring in at least five or six new players for his first weeks in the job, he can transform the way this team plays. As long as Newcastle’s potential new owners give him a realistic target of reaching a major cup final and trying to qualify for Europe by finishing in the top seven in the next four years, he should take this job.

There’s no doubt his reputation hasn’t taken a hit at all, as a lot of the issues which crept into his Tottenham were due to a lack of spending from Daniel Levy rather than his own tactical flaws.

Pochettino will be adored by the Newcastle fans and in reality, they are a very similar club to Tottenham in a lot of ways. Both are sleeping giants who have been starved of trophies and Pochettino can put together pretty much the same blueprint at Newcastle that he had at Tottenham.

High-pressing towards the Gallowgate End would make the Toon Army giddy and for some reason I can’t get images of Pochettino chugging a pint of Newcastle Brown Ale while he lauds the fans from the Tyne Bridge out of my head.

If the new Newcastle owners are given the green light to take charge of the club, Pochettino would be the perfect manager for this project.

Harry Kane fails to rule out future Tottenham exit

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Harry Kane won’t rule out a future Tottenham exit, admitting that it largely depends on lifting silverware with his boyhood club.

Asked by Jamie Redknapp on an Instagram live session whether he would end his playing career at Spurs, the 26-year-old striker responded that it all depends on the “progress of the team” and added that he’s not the type of person to be somewhere just for the sake of being there.

In other words, he wants to win titles with Spurs, soon. If not, his days in north London may be numbered.

It’s one of those things, I couldn’t say yes, I couldn’t say no,” Kane told Redknapp on Sunday. “I love Spurs, I’ll always love Spurs. But it’s one of those things – I’ve always said if I don’t feel we’re progressing as a team or going in the right direction, then I’m not someone to just stay there for the sake of it.

“I’m an ambitious player, I want to improve, I want to get better, I want to become one of the top, top players,” he added. “It all depends on what happens as a team and how we progress as a team. So it’s not a definite I’m going to stay there forever – but it’s not a no either.”

Kane, along with his teammates at the time, got the short end of the stick under Mauricio Pochettino, losing a Champions League final and a League Cup final. The striker is aware that Spurs, top to bottom, have – and have had – the firepower to lift silverware but need the final push, which they may unlock under proven winner Jose Mourinho.

“We’ve been saying that for a couple of years now,” says Kane, “we have got a fantastic team but for one reason or another we haven’t been able to get the trophies that, when you look from the outside, we’ve got the team to get.”

“It’s a hard thing to take as a player. I want to win at everything I do so when we’re coming close and you don’t quite get there it’s hard to take and starts to build up. But from my point of view, and the team’s point of view, all you can do is do everything you can, give your best to win every game, to win trophies. For one reason or another, we haven’t quite got there yet.

“Next year, the gaffer now, it’ll be his first chance to really have a pre-season with the team and embed his values into the team and we’ll see what happens. Of course, I want to win, I want to win team trophies, I want to be doing it sooner rather than later. So we will have to see how it goes.”

Kane, who is third on Spurs’ all-time scoring list, is fond of Mourinho, a manager he grew up watching and respects. The strike admits they chat on a regular basis about soccer and a plethora of other subjects, but is aware that if Spurs want to reap all the benefits from having him onboard, the players will need to leave it all on the field.

“He came in and what you see is what you get,” Kane said. “He’s an honest guy – he’ll tell you if you’re doing things well or if you’re not. If he likes you he’ll tell you and if he doesn’t like you he’ll tell you.

“From my point of view, I have built a good relationship with him. We talk every few days or so, talk about all different things, talk about the team, when we were playing, what we can do, how we can improve.

“For me, it’s great to work under a manager like Jose. Obviously growing up, watching football, he was a big part of that. It’s another opportunity for me to work with one of the best managers in the world.

“I’m excited to see how that relationship unfolds and see what we can do on the pitch. So far he’s been great and I know he’s excited to put his stamp on the team when he gets his opportunity.

“When a manager like him comes in and you know he’s won everywhere, I’m sure he has no intentions to not do that at Spurs. From a player’s point of view we know we have a top, top manager, so it’s up to us to go out there and perform.”

What we love about Tottenham

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Tottenham.

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Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Time to take a closer look at Spurs.

Harry Kane: Since emerging in the first-team scene under Mauricio Pochettino during the 2014-15 campaign, Harry Kane has skyrocketed in Tottenham’s list of greats. The Spurs youth product hit the ground running under the Argentine, finishing as the club’s leading goalscorer of the aforementioned season, and becoming an instant fan favorite.

Kane – who is currently recovering from a left hamstring injury – didn’t stop there; he made sure he was far removed from being a one-hit wonder. As a result, the 26-year-old has lead Spurs in scoring for five straight seasons, placing him third in Tottenham’s all-time goalscoring list. Outside of Jermaine Defoe, no other player in Spurs’ modern day history has had such impact on the offensive side of the game. 

Jose Mourinho: Wherever Jose Mourinho goes, the lights and cameras follow. That reality is no different at Tottenham, as the storied Portuguese manager has brought all of his pros and cons with him to Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium.

After runs with Chelsea and Manchester United, one might have thought that his and Spurs’ paths would never cross, but in November 2019, after Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking, Mourinho became the boss at Tottenham. Life thus far at the helm of the north London side hasn’t been ideal for him, crashing out of Champions League play and sitting eighth on the table. But a manager of Mourinho’s stature is definitely not worth crossing off – whether he’d be at Chelsea, Manchester United ⬇️or Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: In addition to having a proven goalscorer and manager in their ranks, Tottenham have the privilege of playing home games in England’s newest and most technologically advanced football stadium: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 62,000-capacity state-of-the-art stadium features a retractable field, a microbrewery, an in-house bakery, heated seats with USB ports, the longest bar in the UK among others unimaginable extras for a sports venue. The stadium opened in April 2019, and replaced the legendary White Hart Lane.