Spurs boss Pochettino may consider the England job one day - but his main aim is to catch up with Man City
Mauricio Pochettino says he might be interested in managing England one day – but his aim for the foreseeable future is to get Tottenham to the same level as Sunday’s opponents Manchester City.
Sam Allardyce’s departure from his role in charge of the Three Lions, after just one game at the helm, has suddenly left the FA looking for a new boss.
And, asked whether he could see himself taking on that job one day, Pochettino said: “Yes, why not? In the future future - but now it’s impossible. I have re-signed a new five-year contract here, I think it’s not my moment – not only in England but in Argentina too.”
Pochettino’s immediate focus is on Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with league leaders Man City and their new manager Pep Gaurdiola.
The Argentinean faced Guardiola both as a player and as a manager when the pair were at Espanyol and Barcelona respectively, and they will meet on the touchline at White Hart Lane this weekend.
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“He’s one of the best managers in the world and he showed his quality at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now at Manchester City,” said Pochettino. “It’s always tough to arrive in the Premier League but it’s exciting to play against him.
“I think it’s a very important game for us and for them but it’s only a game. We are in the beginning of the season.
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“It’s true we play against Man City, who are unbeaten in the Premier League, and it’s first against second – I think it will be a very tough game for both teams - but it’s very early to talk about [the title race].
“I think it’s important to reduce the gap, but if we win my speech will be the same as if we don’t get the three points.
“We must be solid, to show we believe in the way we play, but it’s too early to talk about aims at the end of the season. But I agree it’s an important and exciting game.”
City spent around £180million in the summer and started the season as one of the title favourites, while Spurs are largely regarded as outsiders, despite their efforts last season, when they finished third.
Asked whether he can foresee a time when Tottenham can compete with City on an even footing, Pochettino said: “Long-term, yes. Maybe we are a little bit behind them now in the project but I think our expectation is long-term to compete with all of the big clubs like City, United, Liverpool and different clubs.
“After two years we are building a different philosophy and a different project - to build a new stadium, an unbelievable training ground like we have, to settle all the principles to be a big, big club, and our ambition is to be one of the biggest clubs in the world. But you need time and you need a normal process.
“I think it’s too difficult to assess football in the way we want to compare things. Only you can see the budget or the salaries that Manchester City pay and you compare it with Tottenham and the answer is very clear – or when you compare with Manchester United or with Liverpool.
“But we are in a process to build a big project here, and that’s why Tottenham is different to Liverpool, Chelsea, United or Manchester City.
“If you remember when I arrived two years ago how my first season here was, and if you compare now with Guardiola when he arrived, and how much he has spent and how much I spent at Tottenham, the answer is very clear. I think we’re in a very different project and I don’t need to explain that.”
Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and Moussa Sissoko all missed this week’s Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow due to injury, and Pochettino was keeping his cards close to his chest when asked about the quartet’s availability for Sunday’s match.
“I’m very positive with the injured players but I need to assess them tomorrow,” he said. “Today maybe they’re at the same level. We are very positive on them but there’s one more training session tomorrow and then I will take the decision. Only Harry [Kane] is a little bit behind.”
Summer signing Georges-Kevin Nkoudou impressed as a substitute against CSKA on Tuesday night and will be keen to get his first start – but Pochettino says the French winger will have to wait a little longer.
“He’s not 100 per cent at the level that we want him,” said the manager. “He’s very young and he needs to work a lot to arrive at his best, but it’s true that in the way we want to use him now, we can use him. He’s perfect to be on the bench and make an impact like he did in Moscow.”
Another summer signing, Vincent Janssen, is awaiting his first Premier League goal after netting just once, from the penalty spot, in his nine games for the club so far.
But the Dutchman also started slowly last campaign, drawing a blank in his first nine matches for AZ Alkmaar, before scoring three times in two games at the start of October and going on to net 30 goals for club and country.
That may encourage Tottenham’s fans, but Pochettino said: “We cannot compare him with his former club and when he was in Holland. The Premier League is very tough and different to the Dutch league. We are happy with the way he’s working.
“It’s true he needs to score because always a striker [needs to score], like what happened with Harry Kane. But only be patient - he’s working and he’s adapting his qualities in a new club and a new league. That’s always difficult, but we’re happy with the way he’s working.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs