Tottenham Hotspur were established in 1882; Chelsea followed a little bit later, in 1905. In the 118 years since then, a grand total of only four (4) managers have managed both teams. In fact, before a succession of ex-Chelsea bosses were appointed at White Hart Lane (André Villas-Boas, José Mourino, Antonio Conte), only one, and only one, manager made the fateful jump across that divide — and the only one to do so in our direction.
But after the summer, Glenn Hoddle could no longer make that claim exclusively. Mauricio Pochettino took on the Chelsea job in the full knowledge of the drama that might cause in both fanbases — and in the full knowledge of the challenges the job would pose for him just as a football coach, even before any of those other distractions might be factored in.
Obviously, we’re still working on the football part, but as the awkward reunion between Poch and the Spurs faithful looms, the Chelsea head coach is hoping to rise above such petty concerns. He’s hoping to find some reasonable ears on both sides of the divide, which might be a bit of a challenge.
“Hopefully, I can stay here [at Chelsea] until I die! 20 or 25 years, but you never know in football. [Tottenham], for sure if I’m not working, maybe if they want me [back] one day, why not?
“Who knows? It’s a club [just] like Southampton or Espanyol or Newell’s Old Boys. It’s like life, you never know what is going to happen tomorrow. We need to enjoy today and I think now at 51, I am thinking more about that, enjoy today and not look too much into the future, in the long term. But, why not?”
“[We] need to be natural — that is the most important thing — not to be fake. I am not going to say things that are very nice. I don’t want to be a hypocrite and say something I do not feel or we are still in the process of creating. People are clever — you shouldn’t underestimate the fans, either the Chelsea or the Spurs ones.
But make no mistake, Pochettino’s current loyalties lie in one, and only one place, right here, right now. The focus is fully on developing this Chelsea team into the team we’re all hoping we can be.
And in the process, he just might become a bigger legend in the SW6 than the N17.
“I hope we can arrive on the same level that I had at Tottenham. Because then it would mean we are doing really well here. Of course, I expect one day to be on the same level but I cannot lie, at the moment no. It is a tough situation.
“[...] I am just going to be natural and enjoy a great game. I want to win – that is my competitive side. But at the same time I want to enjoy it, to enjoy being a part of a process. We did something special there, but I am really calm and want to enjoy it, and hopefully get a win for us.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Telegraph
A win for us would be quite enjoyable indeed.
And meaningful not just for the moment, but for the process.
“It’s a process but I hope it will be the game that will help us to grow quicker. Sometimes it is one game, one performance, one result or one goal that can help be the trigger to change and complete things.
“[We] are putting pressure on the young guys to perform right away. [...] For sure, Chelsea is an exciting project and we are going to find a way to get results. Performances are good but what we are missing is translating that to a positive result.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Evening Standard
No better time than right now to make sure nothing gets lost in any translation!