Ange Postecoglou hopes Mauricio Pochettino will receive a reception worthy of his “undeniable impact” at Tottenham when he returns with Chelsea on Monday but says there will be “no guard of honour”.
Pochettino was Tottenham’s manager from 2014 to 2019, guiding the club to a second-place finish and a Champions League final. Postecoglou said the Argentinian had an influence every coach aspires to at a club.
“For a lot of us in our roles, that’s our ultimate goal and ambition: it is that we make an impact. It was an undeniable impact. He almost took the club to the ultimate summit of the Champions League and got close to the league.”
Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham revolution rooted in common senseRead more
Pochettino goes back to Tottenham as manager of one of their rivals. He was in charge when Chelsea and Spurs played out the infamous “Battle of the Bridge”, a bad-tempered game that finished 2-2 and ended Tottenham’s chances of winning the league, handing it to Leicester. Postecoglou said Pochettino’s presence would not be a distraction for his team, who are top of the table.
“His work is unquestionable,” Tottenham’s manager said. “Everyone I speak to here, the people who worked with him, can’t speak highly enough of him as a manager or as a person. I doubt there would be anything but respect for Mauricio from anyone at this football club, by supporters or people associated with it.
“That doesn’t mean he’s going to get a guard of honour because we want to win. I don’t think he would expect that. His tenure here will stand the test of time. Whatever people think of his time here, they will look at his time here with fondness and respect.”
Postecoglou’s influence at Spurs has been instant. They are one of two unbeaten sides in the Premier League and are 14 points above Chelsea. Postecoglou says that is down to “a change of environment” and players embracing his methods. “It is as much the players’ decision as is it is mine as to whether they embrace that and take that on board. There aren’t players who aren’t taking responsibility for last year; it wouldn’t fall at just the manager’s feet.
“Whether they are existing players or new or staff they have been prepared to do that. They understand if we are to be the team we want to be, they need to take the share of the responsibility by buying into it.”
Postecoglou has welcomed the arrivals of Robert Mackenzie as chief scout and Johan Lange as technical director and regards them as important pieces to fulfil his aim of getting January transfer business done early.
Ben Davies is “touch and go” with an ankle injury, said Postecoglou, who rated Destiny Udogie as 50-50.