Tottenham Hotspur head coach Ange Postecoglou has hailed the impact that Mauricio Pochettino had during his five-and-a-half year stint at the club ahead of his first return to Spurs as a rival manager.
Pochettino enjoyed over half a decade in charge of Tottenham after joining from Southampton in the summer of 2014. Though he did not end the club’s trophy drought, the Argentine secured four Premier League top four finishes – including three in the top three and a club-record 86-point haul to finish second in 2016/17 – and led them to their first ever Champions League final in dramatic fashion in 2019.
After a poor start to the 2019/20 season, Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham and replaced by Jose Mourinho. For the next three-and-a-half years, Spurs bounced from one short-term solution to another in search of immediate success but continually found themselves failing regardless.
Disgruntled Tottenham supporters chanted in support of Pochettino during home matches late on last season. 90min understands he would have been open to returning to the club, but Spurs never made official contact over such a reunion and so he opted to join Chelsea.
Postecoglou was appointed as Tottenham boss back in June and has proven to be their most popular manager in the post-Pochettino era, with Spurs top of the Premier League after ten games so far this season.
Pochettino will return to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – a ground which he helped design minor aspects of – for the first time when his Chelsea side make the trip across London, and fans are divided over the reception that he should receive.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Postecoglou insisted Pochettino should be praised for the work he did at Spurs, though they will hardly roll out a red carpet for him.
“It is undoubted that he had an unbelievable impact on this football club. As all of us in our roles, that’s our ultimate goal and ambition that in whatever doors we go through, we make an impact.
“He made an undeniable impact on this football club, his time here – he almost took the club to the ultimate summit of the Champions League, got close to the league. So his work is unquestioned.
“Everyone I speak to around here, there are still people who worked with him, they can’t speak highly enough of him as a person, as a manager. I doubt there would be anything but respect for Maurício from anyone at this football club – supporters or people associated with it.
“That doesn’t mean he’s going to get a guard of honour on Monday night because we want to win. And I don’t think he would expect that! But his tenure and impact here is undeniable and will stand the test of time that whenever people think of Mauricio and his time as Spurs manager, will only look upon it with respect and fondness.”