Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that he harbours no resentment towards Jose Mourinho despite comments in his recent book that shed light on his frustration over the nature of the 54-year-old’s pursuit of Eric Dier.
Mourinho’s interest in the Englishman was well publicised, with Manchester United reportedly offering £50m – and then £60m – for his services to no avail.
A recent passage in his new book, ‘Brave New World’, describes how the Argentine grew annoyed at seeing Mourinho share a few words with Dier at Old Trafford last season.
But Pochettino, speaking at a press conference ahead of his side’s visit to United, made it clear that there were no hard feelings towards Mourinho.
“That is in the past. I don’t like to speak about my book because it’s in the past,” he said.
“I wrote the book in different circumstances to today, which happened a year ago. The book only tried to show how difficult our job is, for every manager, not only me that has problems – every single manager.”
“No. It’s a thing that is in the past and I was honest in the book. My relationship with him [Mourinho] is very good, we’re in contact. That is only describing one, small situation which is not to put in the headline on the newspaper.
“There’s nothing wrong, I only describe a situation that happened in the past. It’s not an issue.
“It was in the summer, you know very well what happened. His dad passed away and for different circumstances, I called him, but it was a few months ago. Only one situation in public. I describe in the book what happened, only I give my opinion but it’s not to find more. I am very grateful to him, when I met him at Real Madrid. Nothing changed from one situation.”
Pochettino tells us that, actually, he doesn’t want to talk about his book, which makes you wonder why he wrote it in the first place. Maybe he slightly regrets telling the world how, following that 5-1 defeat to Newcastle, he didn’t talk to any of his players afterwards, and instead went home to binge on pizza and Argentinian wine until the early hours.
Of course, we’ve all done something like this, but in the heat of managerial battle in the Premier League you cannot admit to being human and prone to emotional lapses. Can you picture Sir Alex doing this? No, because he never even allowed the idea to be conceivable.
In all seriousness, however, Pochettino has fallen victim to a commonplace tactic employed by Mourinho that revolves around putting his opposite number on edge by doing something provoking but not ostensibly wrong, and having sly conversations with star players often never fails in this department.
And in a game between two sides level on points and both looking to bounce back from recent defeats, you wonder whether further sparks will fly at Old Trafford on Saturday.