Pochettino launches passionate defence of Spurs chairman Daniel Levy
Mauricio Pochettino has launched a passionate defence of Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, describing his boss as a “brilliant man” who “suffers” for the club.
Levy, who has a reputation for being a shrewd businessman and a tough negotiator, tends to divide opinion among Spurs fans.
On the one hand, the Lilywhites have become consistent challengers for a Champions League spot under his stewardship, taking on wealthier rivals while maintaining financial stability.
Meanwhile, the £45million investment in a state-of-the-art academy is already paying off, and the club plan to move into a new 61,000-seater stadium in 2018.
Yet Levy is also widely viewed as an impatient man who has had nine managers during his 14-year tenure and, conversely, waited too long to act in a number of transfer windows, or not spent enough.
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Indeed, when Tottenham failed to sign West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino in the summer, Levy took the unusual step of writing an open letter explaining the club’s transfer business.
Three months on, Spurs look in rude health, lying four points off the top of the table after a 13-game unbeaten run in the Premier League – all achieved with a young squad featuring a host of homegrown players.
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Pochettino has rightly been receiving plaudits for his impact at White Hart Lane, but the head coach is keen for Levy to get his fair share of the credit.
“For me, [the criticism], it’s unfair because sometimes it’s difficult to have all the information - for you [the media] and for our supporters,” said Pochettino. “For me, Daniel is a brilliant man.
“After 18 months, I can judge him. I don’t care about the past because it’s impossible to give an opinion about the past but after 18 months here, always he is very friendly with me.
“We have a very good relationship and the way he suffers for Tottenham, for his club, for the people, he is very sensitive in that - but sometimes it’s difficult to show that to you and our supporters.
“For me, he is one of the best presidents in England or in the world. He’s done a brilliant job - how Tottenham is today, with the training ground, the project, the future, the new stadium, and how he works. I can only praise him because it’s brilliant.
“It’s very difficult to manage a big club like Tottenham and, in his position, it’s always difficult to be kind to everyone but his job is fantastic and we have a very good relationship, we have very good communication.
“We always share all the decisions. It’s true, it’s not fair when the people sometimes [criticise him] because they don’t have all the information. But for me, he’s a fantastic man and, with his knowledge, I can learn a lot from him.”
Levy has sometimes been accused of imposing his will on his managers and insisting on controlling the strategy around transfers, but Pochettino’s influence and philosophy is clearly evident at the Lane.
“We share everything,” said the Argentine. “We take the decision to bring players in or not. We [the coaching staff] are involved in the decisions and this is a very good thing because I feel good, he feels good.
“We have people behind us that feel like important people for the club too and I think we are a unit, and this is the most important thing. This is why I’m very happy here, because I find very good people, with the staff, and with Daniel we have a very good relationship.”
Pochettino admits Levy’s image as a hard negotiator is justified – as he has discovered through personal experience – but he views that as a strength, and insists the chairman has a softer side too.
“He’s very clever, I’ve learned a lot from him in every chat, in every meeting,” said Pochettino, before laughing and adding: “When he negotiates with me, now I am very strong!
“I don’t have an agent and he offered the contract and I said yes or no or ‘I want more’. It was very tough and, in the end, he won.
“For me it was a big surprise when I met Daniel because, face to face, he is very friendly. You always hear that he always sacks the manager and he’s very tough, but he was very kind with me.
“He is a president who cares a lot about the club and the people. It’s true that he pushes us, which is very good for the club.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs