Pochettino relishing 'really special' trip back to Spurs

5 Nov 2023
Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea head coach discusses his return to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in Monday's London derby

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Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino says it will be "really special" to head back to his former club Tottenham Hotspur on Monday and has hailed the job Ange Postecoglou has done in leading Spurs to the top of the table.

Pochettino spent five and a half years in charge of Spurs from the summer of 2014, leading them to the 2019 UEFA Champions League final before being sacked in November that year.

"It's really special. To come back after four years, to a place where we created amazing memories together, it's special," he said.

"In the moment that we left the club it was a difficult situation, a difficult moment. But now it's the opportunity to come back and see many people that are still working there - a good chance for us. It's going to be an exciting moment."

Asked how he thinks he will be received by Spurs fans after taking charge of their fierce London rivals Chelsea this summer, Pochettino said: "I'm not going to say at the moment because until Monday we cannot guess what is going to happen there.

"The most important thing is people know we cannot forget all that we lived together. It's amazing memories there, and then I'm going to respect the people, how they're going to express [themselves]. But it's not going to change my emotions, my view, my feelings about a club where I think we had an unbelievable journey.

'They can be a contender'

"Ange and all the coaching staff are doing a fantastic job. Of course, very good players, very good team and you can feel they can be a [title] contender. It’s early in the season, but they are showing the qualities to be a contender.

"I don’t know [Ange] really well, but I am so happy for him and for the club that they are doing really well after four years. We cannot forget all that happened there when we were there. We are very positive, very grateful people. We keep these links and always you are happy when the club are doing well."

See: Hero to pantomime villain: A Spurs fan's view of Pochettino's return

Postecoglou has expressed his own admiration for Pochettino, and believes the Argentinian will be treated with respect on his return to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“It’s undoubted that he had an unbelievable impact on this football club,” Postecoglou said.

“As all of us in our roles, that’s our ultimate goal and ambition, that whatever doors we go through we make an impact, and he’s had 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. Everyone I speak to around here - there are still people who worked with him - can’t speak highly enough [of him] as a person, as a manager.

“I doubt there will be anything but respect for Mauricio, from anyone at this football club or associated with it. But that doesn’t mean he will get a guard of honour because we want to win - and I don’t think he would expect that."

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