Mauricio Pochettino

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Poch: ‘I think we can make history‘ in UCL final, then I’ll talk to Levy

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Mauricio Pochettino‘s future appeared to have been decided for him when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was named the permanent manager at Manchester United and Real Madrid brought Zinedine Zidane back earlier this season, but there’s still an important conversation to be had between Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy… after the small matter of the Champions League final, of course.

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings of the 2018-19 season ]

It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Pochettino — who wasn’t backed with a single dollar in either the summer or January transfer windows this season, yet guided Tottenham to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League and the European final — could leave the club by his own will, should he and Levy stand at odds over something as important as the club’s upcoming transfer plans.

Typically, such a meeting between Spurs’ manager and chairman would have been planned for this coming week. Instead, Pochettino says that 100 percent of the entire club’s focus is on their upcoming preparations for the club’s first-ever European final on June 1 in Madrid — quotes from the Telegraph:

“The focus and the energy has to be on helping the players arrive in the best condition and design the plan to try to win. We are going to have time after the final (to talk).

“What happens happens and, for sure, we are going to talk. But now is about being focused on working hard and how we are going to manage and handle the players to arrive in the best condition. I think we can make history.

“We are creating history because we are making it, but if we can win we will write history and change the perception of this amazing club.”

[ WATCH: Man City celebrate 2018-19 Premier League title ]

First, though, Pochettino is set to give his players a lengthy vacation period to enjoy their selves after a long, grueling season in which the first-team squad has been continuously decimated by injuries. Or, you know, not.

“They will only have two days off now — Monday and Tuesday — then we start to work. We have our idea, we have our plan. We designed our plan.

“Of course, you know, we need to be natural. It is not a preseason, but it is not going to be a holiday. In our mind, we have a clear way of how we are going to work in the next three weeks. Of course, the players they need to agree, accept and show the faith and trust in us and then if we win, for sure we will have been right.”

Tearful Pochettino hails Spurs ‘heroes’ after another UCL comeback

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By any conservative estimation, Tottenham Hotspur have been “almost out” of this season’s UEFA Champions League on three occasions… if not more.

[ MORE: Spurs pull off second amazing UCL comeback in two days ]

There was the disastrous start to the group stage which saw them take just one point from their first three games; they needed a result away to Barcelona and for Inter Milan to slip up against PSV Eindhoven on the final day of the group stage just to reach the knockout rounds. They cruised past Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16. They came from behind twice and dodged a stoppage-time bullet to beat Manchester City in the quarterfinals.

Then, on Wednesday, down 3-0 with 45 minutes left to play in Amsterdam, Mauricio Pochettino’s “heroes” did it again.

By the time he reached the first of his players to celebrate after sound of the final whistle rang out, Pochettino was already in tears. He would remain that way, off and on, for at least the next 20 minutes, including when he began the gauntlet of post-game interviews.

Pochettino searched for the right words to convey his joy, his shock and his appreciation for everyone and everything tangentially connected to Tottenham’s improbable run to the June 1 final in Madrid. (WATCH HERE)

“It’s still difficult to talk. The emotion is amazing, thank you to football. My players are heroes — in the last year I was telling everyone this group are heroes. The second half, they were amazing. Thank you, football — this type of emotion without football is not possible. Thank you to everyone who has believed in us. To describe this in words is difficult.

“We were talking before the game that when you work and when you feel the love, it’s not stress, it’s passion of the team. We showed we love the sport and football. Today was amazing. It was a joy to watch this kind of game.

“It’s difficult to compete at this level. I am so grateful to be a coach. To be in football and to live this type of football.

“They are all heroes, but [Lucas Moura] was a superhero. From the first to last one — the tough moment to live in [the last five years of his career].”

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images )

As for Moura, who scored the heroic second-half hat trick to send Spurs through to the first European final in club history, Christian Eriksen has an idea.

“Today it was non-tactical, more of a fight and a heart performance. Lucas Moura, he’s how we won the game, he deserves it, rollercoaster of a season. For him to get us in the final, I hope he gets a statue in England after this, we are blown away, no real words for it, I feel sorry for Ajax.”

“It was a ridiculous game, we were really far down, we tried to fight back, we were just lucky. I feel sorry for Ajax, they played a very good game against us. Today we mostly created more chances; football, they played better. It is relief, we have been fighting for this, it is a dream to be in the final.

“We felt like we weren’t able to look ourselves in the mirror if we were to go down three or four nil. We had to fight, we scored early to get some momentum, put them under pressure. We are lucky the ball falls in the right direction, Lucas had a wonderful game. We are relieved.”

Pochettino says he could leave Spurs if they win Champions League

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Mauricio Pochettino dropped a bit of a bombshell ahead of the second leg of Spurs’ Champions League semifinal matchup with Ajax. At his pre-match press conference, he mentioned it’s possible he would feel the need to seek out a new challenge should they win the tournament this season, calling it a potential “miracle” should they come out victorious.

Spurs trail 1-0 after the home leg, leaving the tie very much in the balance before the second leg in the Netherlands. Spurs were dominated in the first half of the first leg, but recovered to put forth a good effort in the second 45, keeping the matchup even and allowing the team to keep the belief.

“To win the Champions League with Tottenham, in this circumstance, in this season, maybe I need to think a little bit to do something different in the future, for sure,” Pochettino said to the surprise of the attending media. “Because to repeat this miracle, you know.”

Pochettino’s comments were surprising enough that a reporter followed up by asking if he was joking, and he replied, “It’s not a joke, why?”

His comments are stunning considering his name has been mentioned constantly in rumors regarding Manchester United and Real Madrid, among other top clubs across Europe. Both those clubs have recently filled vacancies with permanent hires, but now Pochettino has put other clubs on alert should he win the tournament, or even if they fail to do so, it could signal others that he might be feeling a sense of capped achievements in North London. Manchester United may also hope to pry him away this summer, given how recently appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer limped over the finish line this season.

Pochettino said he is relishing the chance to reach the finals, believing Spurs is very much in the match, but they need to perform better than in the first leg. “I think it’s an exciting moment for us to be in a semifinal,” Pochettino said. “I think we need to enjoy and have more freedom to play, and to start the game the way we want to start. The approach was really poor from our side in the first leg. I think we need to feel more freedom to play. We have nothing to lose from the beginning. We know we need to win and try.”

Spurs and Ajax take the field Wednesday, with Liverpool and Barcelona meeting for their second leg match at Anfield on Tuesday.

Pochettino: ‘We have two finals’

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Mauricio Pochettino spoke defiantly after his nine-man Tottenham side lost 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday to set up a nervous finish to the season.

Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth were both shown straight red cards in the space of five minutes and Spurs had to play close to 45 minutes with just nine men.

Despite their unbelievable lack of discipline Tottenham almost held on for a crucial point in their top four battle, but Nathan Ake‘s 91st minute header sealed their sixth-straight PL away defeat.

“It is painful to play without two players. We need to move on. We cannot change the decisions. We have ahead two finals. It is in our hands,” Pochettino told the BBC. “If it does not happen we will be proud because nobody expected Tottenham to be in the position they are today.”

That “not one believed in us” theme continued in Pochettino’s post-game comments, as he must now pick up his players for a huge UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg at Ajax on Wednesday.

Spurs head to Amsterdam trailing 1-0 from the first leg, and with injuries piling up and Tottenham winning just four of their last 15 games in all competitions, yet another fine season is threatening to end on a sour note.

“No one believed in Tottenham to be in this position in the last week of the competition. What happens will happen and I will feel proud,” Pochettino said. “We are fighting six teams, it is impossible for all six to get the top four, whatever happens I will feel proud and whatever happens in the semifinal I will be proud.”

Pochettino is probably right, but it wouldn’t make it hurt any less if Spurs somehow finished outside of the top four and lost to Ajax in the UCL semifinal on Wednesday.

In the PL they are four points ahead of fifth-place Arsenal, with the Gunners having a game in hand. If they win that against Brighton on Sunday, they will be one point behind Spurs going into the final game and Arsenal have to travel to Burnley. Man United aren’t out of the equation now too, as two wins in their final two games and a Spurs defeat would see them finish above Tottenham.

All of a sudden the tension levels at Spurs have been cranked up a few notches.

Pochettino is right. They have two finals. But the main problem is, they will be without Harry Kane and Harry Winks for both of those games, while Son can’t play in the PL season finale against Everton and the status of Jan Vertonghen is unknown.

This poor run of form to finish the season points to one thing: Tottenham’s squad is not big enough and their key players have run out of steam.

Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura looked shattered in the final moments of their defeat at Bournemouth and the last thing they needed was to play close to a half down two men.

But the equation is clear for Spurs. Beat in-form Everton at home on the final day and they will finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League. After no new signings, their stadium delay and injuries to Kane and others throughout this campaign, making the top four would be a huge achievement, whatever happens at Ajax next week.

After Messi brilliance, Pochettino further perturbed by Spurs

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Barcelona may have put Liverpool behind the UEFA Champions League 8-ball on Wednesday, but it was another Premier League boss who’s been offended by the performance.

While Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp couldn’t help but shrug at the 3-0 first leg loss in Spain despite a quite decent Liverpool performance at the Camp Nou, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was angered by the result.

[ MORE: Messi reacts to win ]

Why? Because when he watched Lionel Messi’s passionate display against Liverpool, he wondered why his men didn’t have the same fire in their UCL semifinal first leg versus Ajax.

“If we play like [Messi] without the ball, with the desire he showed yesterday, for sure we are going to have the chance to qualify for the final. If not, no chance. … Ajax weren’t better than us. It’s only in the moments they showed more desire than us that they were better.

“That is the key for football. To play Saturday against Bournemouth, we need to show the same desire. If not, it’s difficult to win. Wednesday is going to be the same. It’s so painful when in the same semi-final you watch Messi play with the desire and motivation, and say ‘why did we not feel the same?”

Again, Spurs’ loss seems more about absent Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son than passion, but Pochettino wouldn’t win any point from his players for saying, “Guys were hurt and the other guys just aren’t capable of getting to that level.”