Mauricio Pochettino has refused to entertain comments and questions from the media about his touted departure from Paris Saint-Germain to Manchester United and about Zinedine Zidane replacing him at the Parc De Princes.
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager has been strongly linked to take over at Old Trafford from interim manager Ralf Rangnick in the summer as the club seeks to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer permanently.
This would mean him stepping down from his current role at PSG where he has a contract that runs to the end of the 2023 season. It has also spurred discussions about a potential replacement for Pochettino in former Real Madrid boss Zidane, who is reported to only be interested in the PSG job if he is to return to coaching.
The Argentine is also reported to be the choice of the Manchester United dressing room while the management is reported to be torn between him and Ajax Amsterdam’s Erik ten Hag.
Pochettino, in his latest run-in with the media, has asked that any questions about his departure should be forwarded to Leonardo Araujo, PSG’s sporting director and owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
“I don’t know, it’s not up to me to decide,” Pochettino told Cadena SER. “Zidane is a great coach, he already showed it at Real Madrid.
“He can train any trainer in the world. Also, he is French. That is one more question for the sporting director or the president. Look, when Zinedine Zidane was at Real Madrid, how many rumours didn’t come out of me (when I was) in England?
“When we take charge of a club with the visibility of PSG, we know that this comes with the position. That has to be accepted, otherwise I could not be sitting here in front of you right now as PSG coach.”
Pochettino only focused on PSG amid Old Trafford talks
Pochettino also emphasised that he is only focused on delivering his mandate at PSG at the moment.
“I go step by step, like (Atletico Madrid manager) Cholo Simeone,” he said. “I think you have to enjoy the moments. We cannot be thinking about what is going to come.
“We have to be concentrated and focused on what we have now and football will have whatever it wants with us later.
“We are responsible for doing our best and giving 100 percent for the club we work for. We are 200 percent focused on PSG and on giving this club the happiness they expect from us.”
The Argentine was also asked about the difference between his former job and current one, and he noted that long-term planning was the difference as PSG required immediate results.
“Every project lays a foundation from the beginning,” Pochettino began as he answered the question. “Today, in football, when you train Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham, now PSG… it doesn’t matter. If you don’t win, there’s no time.”
No more romanticism in football, says Pochettino
In speaking about the difference between his PSG and Spurs jobs, Pochettino also noted that football in general is not willing to build long term anymore, not just PSG.
He has managed four clubs so far in his coaching career and spent the longest spell with Spurs, from 2014 to 2019.
He led them to their first ever Champions League final in June 2019, and months later, he was shown the exit door at Spurs.
That memory still hurts him according to previous interviews. As a result, the 49-year-old now believes that football is no longer a romantic sport.
“Romanticism was lost except in some clubs with an incredible capacity to give it and believe in forming a structure so that this visible head has time to bring people together, not just players, to make a long-term project,” he added.
“We have seen it at City with Guardiola, at Liverpool with Klopp… The rest, we already work thinking much more about day to day. One of our maxims is to think that we are going to be 10 years knowing that the present is going to dictate that possibility.
“If you don’t win, there is no livelihood that can allow you to last over time. You have the responsibility to work as if you were going to be there for many years. Nothing has changed for me.
“The day to day gives me the possibility of being tomorrow. We never think beyond. The work is the same, the media exposure changes. Paris, and more this season, exposes you more. That is the important management, managing everything that happens around.”