Spurs boss Pochettino: I didn’t call to congratulate Ranieri on his title triumph because it would have been ‘fake’
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says he declined to call Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri at the end of last season and congratulate him on the Foxes’ Premier League title triumph, because he felt it would have been disingenuous and “fake”.
Leicester and Spurs – who go head to head at White Hart Lane tomorrow - were battling for the crown before the Lilywhites’ 2-2 draw at Chelsea on May 2 handed the trophy to their rivals with two games to spare.
Asked if he opted to congratulate Ranieri personally, Pochettino said: “No, I never phoned him. I relayed my message in the press conference after the Chelsea game. It was the first thing I said - it was to congratulate him and send a message through the TV.
“I am not fake, I wasn’t happy that day. It’s like when we are fighting on the bench with another bench - an opponent - and the culture here is to share a glass of wine in the manager’s room. Why?
“In front of the TV and all the people I go ‘I am very brave and fight with all’. Then it’s ‘sorry, sorry, all the best, cheers’ and share some red wine? Very fake, I am not fake. I congratulate him and all the fans of Leicester, and the coaching staff and players, but I wasn’t happy.
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“I wasn’t angry but disappointed because always being close to touching glory, that is always sad.
“In football, in the end you take what you deserve and there’s nothing to complain about with Leicester. They deserved to lift the trophy and win the league. For us it was our mistake, we didn’t take that [opportunity].
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“I think it’s a chapter that is closed. It was good when, all together, we had meetings with people after the Euros and after the holidays.
“We met again and that was good. It was open that chapter, and it was good to close it - to pull out the feeling from us, the players, the staff and everyone. That is the thing that we need to improve and learn, not about if you lose a game - that is more important.
“How to create good emotions, good ideas, good feelings again - that is the most difficult thing, not only in football but in every sport, in life, my family, my house.”
Leicester won the title with a counter-attacking approach, having averaged just 43 per cent of the possession in their top-flight fixtures.
Pochettino favours a very different philosophy, preferring his teams to have much more of the ball. However, he has no issues with the style in which the Foxes achieved their success, having cheered his national team to World Cup glory on two occasions as a youngster, while observing contrasting styles.
“For me, because of my culture and how I grew up in football in Argentina, I grew up under two different styles and I was happy, in the same way,” he said.
“We won in the World Cup in Argentina in 1978 with Cesar Luis Menotti, [when] we cared more about the aesthetic side. It was very important not only to win the games, but how you won the games.
“Then in 1986 in Mexico with [Carlos Salvador] Bilardo, it was the opposite side and we won the World Cup too and I enjoyed it a lot. They were two different completely styles and ideas and both times we were world champions, and that is football.
“Football is not one truth, it’s a thousand truths or millions of truths and we need to be very respectful with the people that don’t share your ideas and don’t see football how you see football.
“That doesn’t mean it’s not football, if Leicester play in a different way. They try to win and the aim is to win games and score more goals than your opponent, and for that I am very respectful with the people that don’t share my ideas.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs