Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has talked up his positive relationship with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho ahead of Sunday’s London derby with the Premier League holders.
Tottenham are closing in on a top-four place after a run of 12 unbeaten league match, while Chelsea have won just four games and occupy 15th place.
Pochettino’s men sealed a historic 5-3 triumph over Chelsea at White Hart Lane in January and the Argentinean vividly remembers how Mourinho reacted to the crushing defeat.
“It was difficult for Jose because he was very upset and didn’t speak after the game. I could understand. It has been like that some games for me,” said Pochettino.
“Sometimes when you have lost you don’t want to speak to anybody. But we have a very good relationship and I am sure we will say hello before the game on Sunday. He was very good to me when I was at Espanyol and he was at Real Madrid.”
He added: “For Tottenham, it was a very special game. For many players it gave the belief that we can achieve important things. Now our mentality is every time we play we need to show we have the quality to win every game.
“It’s too early to say if this will be a special season, but it’s true the feeling is very good from the beginning of the season. The way that we play, from last season, we have improved a lot.”
Pochettino has managed nine of England’s last 17 debutants and while he is enjoying his role in north London, he refused to rule out one day taking charge of the national team.
“You never know in football. I am always open for the future,” Pochettino said. “It is very difficult for me to answer but you never know what will happen in the future.”
Explaining further, he added: “If someone had asked me three or four years ago whether I would work in England, I would have said, ‘Of course not, because I don’t speak English’. But then the owner of Southampton called me and said he wanted me to manage their team. Now I am here at Tottenham and speaking English.
“But I am very happy here at Tottenham. I enjoy it a lot. I find the people and the chairman have a very good philosophy.”