Mauricio Pochettino

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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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

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.

Pochettino ‘would love to work in the Premier League’

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino
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Mauricio Pochettino would love to manage in the Premier League again.

And why wouldn’t he? The Spurs boss made no bones about his restrictions in North London, and would surely relish the chance to work with a bigger budget.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Those odds seem long for now. Manchester United seems remarkably faithful to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while Frank Lampard has a long leash as a Chelsea legend. And Pochettino was always a long shot to move Spurs’ rivals Arsenal, who have Mikel Arteta on board. Liverpool’s set with Jurgen Klopp and Man City is set up with Pep Guardiola, so it’s going to be some time before a big budget job opens up in the PL.

Pochettino has been adamant that he’s been ready to return since December, a month after he was fired by Spurs.

From a Sky Sports podcast with Natalie Pinkham:

“To be honest, I would love to work in the Premier League,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult, I know, and for now it’s a moment to wait and we’ll see what happens. It’s a moment of recovery, to think about yourself a little bit, and to be ready because in football always something can happen and you need to be ready. I’m ready and waiting for a new challenge. I have the belief and confidence that the next challenge will be fantastic.”

It feels likely Pochettino’s next move is going to come outside the Premier League, but you never know. And the manager is making it clear to anyone who will listen that he’s available in the coach’s version of a “Come and get me.”

La Liga roundup: Correa earns Atletico Madrid, Simeone second win of the year (video)

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Atletico Madrid’s hard-earned victory over Granda highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Granada

Prior to Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 victory over a visiting Granda on Saturday, the club had yet to record a league victory since January 4 against Levante at the Wanda Metropolitano.

A sixth-minute strike from Angel Correa proved to be the determining factor for Los Colchoneros. Koke, back on the field after recovering from injury, set up the 24-year-old inside the box with a soft pass. Correa, with a Granda defender in closing in, struck the ball into the bottom left corner.

 

With Diego Costa and Joao Felix inactive with injuries, Correa, who increased his goal tally to four, and Vitolo spearheaded Diego Simeone’s 4-1-2-1-2 formation. The seldom seen tandem paid it forward.

Heading into Saturday matchup on a five-match winless streak, the pressure was looming on Simeone. So much so that reports out of Spain began indicating the potential hiring of Mauricio Pochettino by Atletico’s brass.

With that in mind, Simone, more than Atletico, needed the win to stay afloat in a couple of different areas.

“There are quite a few positive situations,” Simeone said after Atletico’s 1-0 win on Saturday. “We were coming from a not good time. We needed to win first and foremost. And that always generates a responsibility rather than pressure. We are once again an extraordinary stadium that generated that energy that is needed to get out of these bad times.”

Simeone and Atletico will try to build on the crucial victory on Friday, as they travel to Mestalla to take on Valencia. Granda, on the other hand, take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey semifinals midweek before hosting Real Valladolid on Saturday.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Getafe 3-0 Valencia

Valladolid 1-1 Villarreal

Levante 2-0 Leganes

How would Pochettino change Man United?

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After another humbling defeat for Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is officially on the hot seat at Old Trafford.

He is over 12 months into the job and although United have shown flashes of brilliance in wins against some of the six this season, there is a lot of inconsistency.

The Norwegian coach admitted their first half display in the 3-1 home defeat in the League Cup semifinal first leg against Man City was the “worst they’ve played all season” and that there is “no quick fix” to turn things around.

Maybe the quickest fix is to hire a new manager?

Mauricio Pochettino is currently sitting around twiddling his thumbs as the man long expected to take charge of Man United is being touted by many fans of the Red Devils to replace Solskjaer before the end of this season.

But if Ed Woodward and the hierarchy continue to make mistakes at the top of the club, is hiring a new manager actually going to make that much of a difference?

Here’s a three-point plan for how Pochettino would implement change at United, if he’s given the chance:

1. Youth over everything: Solskjaer is big on young players and United have a lot of them coming through. What they need is a coach who has a track record of not only finding young players but developing them. Pochettino ticks that box as he showed at Southampton and Tottenham. It’s all well and good chucking young, talented players into the team but how do they keep getting better? Poch is a master at keeping youngsters hungry.

2. More demanding of hierarchy: There’s a sense that Solskjaer has always been part of the furniture at United. From his lengthy spell at Old Trafford as a player and cult hero to his years spent coaching the reserve team, Solskjaer is a club man through  and through. That hurts him when it comes to being forceful with Woodward and others. If Solskjaer isn’t happy with the transfer budget or contract negotiations with a star player, is he really going to kick off at Woodward and Co.? Probably not. Pochettino built a very good relationship with Daniel Levy, the roughest chairman in the PL, and the fact he was at Tottenham for over five years suggests he is used to getting what he wants even when the odds are staked against him. His biggest job would be to allow Woodward and Co. to let him focus solely on the soccer side of things and let him crack on with getting rid of players who aren’t up to his standards. Poch is a ruthless operator and Solskjaer doesn’t seem to be. At all.

3. Build on Solskjaer’s platform: When all is said and done, Solskjaer has done a decent job to steady the ship over the last 12 months. Nothing more, nothing less. He has introduced young players to the team, started to build a new direct playing style the fans love (especially when it works) and he’s started to address their defensive issues with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire bought for big bucks. Pochettino would be the man to tweak things slightly, not break it all up, and he would provide the next logical step in United’s development. Just like the Argentine coach kicked things on at Spurs after Tim Sherwood gave Harry Kane and others their debuts, Pochettino can use his motivation skills to get the most of this young United squad.