Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham contact former manager over return

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Mauricio Pochettino and Neymar hold up the French Cup
Pochettino (right, with Neymar) lifted the French Cup with Paris-St Germain in May

Tottenham have made contact with former manager Mauricio Pochettino about a return to the club.

The 49-year-old Argentine, who was sacked by Spurs in November 2019 after five years in charge, took over at Paris St-Germain in January.

PSG failed to win the Ligue 1 title for only the second time in nine seasons and lost to Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals.

Tottenham sacked Jose Mourinho, Pochettino's replacement, last month.

Academy coach Ryan Mason was put in temporary charge until the end of the season. Under him, Spurs lost the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City and finished seventh in the Premier League season.

BBC Sport understands there has been no contact between Tottenham and PSG, who have held talks with Pochettino about their plans for next season.

PSG won the French Cup in May but missed out on the Ligue 1 title to Lille.

PSG club released an interview with Pochettino,external-link who has one year left on his deal with them, on Thursday in which he talked about having "laid a good foundation".

He said: "I'm happy with the way the players adapted to the changes. There are a lot of things that couldn't be changed or couldn't be developed because of lack of time.

"But I think that with this way of working, and with the desire to be able to develop other kinds of ideas on the pitch, it will be possible to do great things in the future."

Pochettino led Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2019, when they lost to Liverpool.

They also lost the 2015 League Cup final to Chelsea and were runners-up to Chelsea in the Premier League in 2016-17.

After a disappointing start to the 2019-20 campaign, he was sacked with Tottenham 14th in the table. They had been knocked out of the League Cup by Colchester United and beaten 7-2 in the Champions League by Bayern Munich.

Tottenham played their home games at Wembley for 18 months during Pochettino's reign while their new ground was being built.

Chairman Daniel Levy recently said Tottenham "lost sight of some key priorities" during its construction and the Covid-19 pandemic.

There remains speculation over the future of England captain and striker Harry Kane, who says he hopes to have "a good, honest conversation" with Levy.

In April 2020, Pochettino told BT Sport: "It was an amazing journey that finished the way no-one wanted it to finish.

"But deep in my heart I am sure our paths will cross again. From the day I left the club, my dream is to be back one day and to try to finish the work we didn't finish.

"We were so close to winning the Premier League and Champions League.

"Deep inside I want to go back because the fans are so special. Maybe in five years, maybe in 10 years, but before I die I want to manage Tottenham."

Analysis - could a return happen?

After the chaos since his exit, many Tottenham fans would welcome the return of Pochettino with open arms.

But it may be wise for those supporters not to celebrate too soon.

Firstly, PSG's stance of planning ahead with the man they only appointed in January doesn't inspire much confidence.

Would Pochettino be publicly prepared to say he wanted out of the French capital, if, indeed, that is his wish?

The problem for Tottenham is that after so much negativity around the ownership, an inability to secure Pochettino for a second time will look like failure and increase the pressure still further.

With the Kane situation unresolved, Levy needs to bring some kind of stability to the situation, whether that includes his popular former manager or not.

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