Former Spurs boss Pochettino open to Premier League return

Mauricio Pochettino
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Updated 24 May 2020

Former Spurs boss Pochettino open to Premier League return

  • I still think the Premier League is the best league in the world. We enjoy it a lot, says Mauricio Pochettino

LONDON: Mauricio Pochettino says returning to the Premier League is his “priority,” stating he is eager to manage again six months after being sacked by Tottenham.

The 48-year-old transformed Spurs’ fortunes during his five-and-a-half-year reign but failed to win a trophy and was sacked less than a year after leading them to the Champions League final.

The Argentine has now ended his six-month “gardening leave,” meaning he is free to join another club. He has been heavily linked with Newcastle if their proposed takeover goes through, while speculation over the Manchester United job has never gone away.

“After six months, our tanks are completely full,” Pochettino told various British media outlets.

“I have tried with my coaching staff to review everything that we did in the last seven years (including Southampton) because we never had a break until now.”

Pochettino, who still lives in London, said he “loved” England and the Premier League.

“I am not going change (my feelings) now because I am not involved in the Premier League,” he said.

“Because I am no longer the Tottenham manager, I am not going to change my vision.

“I still think the Premier League is the best league in the world. We enjoy it a lot. Of course, it’s one of the options. Of course, it can be my priority but I am not closed to move to a different country.”

Pochettino said due to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis, it was difficult to know what opportunities would be available.

“Today we are going to live a completely different era in football that we need to discover,” he said. “It’s difficult to know what project is going to be the right project.

“There are many things, at the moment, that we have in our minds about how things are going to be after this virus hopefully disappears, but how are these clubs or companies, because that’s what they are, going to be? It’s a big question mark.”


Atletico catching all the breaks in Champions League

Updated 12 August 2020

Atletico catching all the breaks in Champions League

  • A victory against Leipzig will put Atletico back in the semifinals for the first time since 2017

LISBON: So far so good for Atletico Madrid in the quest for their first Champions League title.

Diego Simeone’s team have caught all the breaks going into the decisive final-eight tournament in Lisbon.

Old foes Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are gone. They drew Leipzig instead of a more traditional powerhouse for the quarterfinals. And their rival lost its top player after Timo Werner left for Chelsea. Even when things went wrong and the squad was hit by COVID-19, Atletico avoided the worst as only two players were infected and they could still make the trip to Portugal.

Things have been looking good for Simeone and his players.

A victory against Leipzig on Thursday will put Atletico back in the semifinals for the first time since it was eliminated by Ronaldo’s Madrid in the last four in 2017. Ronaldo and Madrid had defeated Atletico in the final in 2014 and 2016, and also ended the rival’s run in the quarterfinals in 2015.

Ronaldo again was Atletico’s nemesis last season after joining Juventus. Atletico lost to the Italian team in the round of 16 after Ronaldo scored a hat trick in the decisive second leg in Turin.

But this time Ronaldo and Juventus were eliminated by Lyon in the last 16, the same stage in which Madrid were knocked out of the tournament by Manchester City. Only two past champions are still left in the competition — Barcelona and Bayern Munich — and they play against each other in the opposite side of the draw, meaning Atletico could only meet one of them in the final.

Leipzig are a relative newcomer to the Champions League, having reached the group stage only twice. This is the first time they made it to the knockout round. They eliminated Tottenham in the round of 16, but now they won't count on top scorer Werner, who did not extend his contract by a few weeks to finish the season with the German club before moving to Chelsea.

Atletico stunned defending European champion Liverpool in the last 16, advancing after a 3-2 win in England.

“The game against Liverpool will go down in history and was one of the best we’ve had in a long time,” Atletico striker Diego Costa said. “It gave fans high expectations and we will give our best to try to meet those expectations. Hopefully we will play well and luck will stay on our side.”

Costa said Atletico will not take Leipzig lightly despite  the rival’s lack of experience in international competitions.

“They are very strong on the ball and know what they are about,” he said. “They have made it to the quarterfinals and have no pressure.”

There was a scare within Atletico this week when it announced two positive test results for COVID-19 among the group that was traveling to Lisbon. There were concerns that an outbreak within the club could have affected the team’s participation in the tournament in Portugal, but new tests showed that only Ángel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko were infected and the squad could travel to Lisbon.

Vrsaljko was not even going to play because he is nursing an injury, while Correa isn't among Atletico’s top stars even though he led the team in assists this season.

After coming agonizingly close recently, Atletico hope the breaks will keep going their way and that they  will finally get to lift the coveted European trophy.