Mauricio Pochettino shrugs off links with Barcelonaby Rohan Toure 15/02/2017 19:15:00 0 comments 1 Views
- Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is being linked with Barcelona
- The Catalans coach, Luis Enrique, is under increasing pressure at the Nou Camp
- But Pochettino has stressed he is happy at Spurs, where he has a four-year deal
By Riath Al-Samarrai for the Daily Mail
Published: 15:51 EST, 15 February 2017 | Updated: 19:15 EST, 15 February 2017
If Mauricio Pochettino has any worries about the limits of Tottenham's potential after a tough week, then he did a good job of hiding them when he was asked to imagine himself at Barcelona.
It was put to him that he might be tempted by the world's most iconic club given the distinct likelihood that Luis Enrique will leave the Camp Nou this summer.
As one of Europe's most exciting managers, the time is coming, if it has not already, when Pochettino will surely be in the frame for any of football's marquee opportunities.
Mauricio Pochettino has shrugged off reports linking him with a move to Barcelona
Pochettino is preparing his players for their game against Gent in the Europa League
But he was firm in his conviction that Tottenham is a club worth persevering with, even if this of all weeks might have given him wanderlust.
'I can't say anything about that,' he said when asked if he would be keen on the Catalans. 'I'm at Tottenham. I am very happy, four more years of contract, and enjoying an exciting project. It's true it's not an easy project, but I'm very happy here.'
It has not been the easiest week to be in his position, with the loss at Liverpool dropping a large spanner in the works of Tottenham's Premier League challenge and their arrival in Belgium on Wednesday reminding them of what they have already lost.
Their place in the Champions League was frittered away before Christmas and now they return to that old conundrum of the Europa League, starting with a last-32 tie against Gent on Thursday.
Christian Eriksen (centre) and Co are getting ready for their last-32 clash in the competition
Eriksen takes part in a passing drill as Spurs prepared for Thursday night's game
Dele Alli takes part in a Spurs training session at the Ghelamco Arena on Wednesday
Harry Kane has also travelled to Belgium and Pochettino is expected to name a strong team
Given the competition is most frequently discussed in the context of fixture congestion, it was strangely appropriate that Pochettino was an hour late for his press conference owing to bad traffic.
But if private whispers are to be believed, it is a competition he is now keen to win and a strong line-up is being primed to face Gent. Part of the motivation, Pochettino admitted, is short-term redemption, and another part of his thinking is that winning this competition would rewire the mentality of the whole club.
'What happened against Liverpool, all the players want the chance to play again and try and change the feeling,' he said.
'I think, always, if you win a trophy it can help you a lot. We started from one and a half years ago to build a new team, a new mentality and philosophy. You always need time. But if you win trophies, we need to use that in a positive way to try and improve our winning mentality.'
Hugo Lloris takes part in goalkeeping practice prior to the Europa League game on Thursday