Arsenal coach Unai Emery expects his Tottenham rival Mauricio Pochettino to achieve “important things” as a manager.
The two tacticians have a long-standing relationship from when Pochettino was coaching Espanyol in LaLiga, with Emery holding him in high regard even back then.
Pochettino revealed in November that former Valencia coach Emery recommended him for the main job at Mestalla in 2012 and he was subsequently offered the role, only to stay loyal to Espanyol, before leaving by “mutual consent” later the same year.
Manchester United and Real Madrid have both been linked with Pochettino in recent months, though some have expressed reservations due to his lack of trophies.
Nevertheless, Emery again applauded Pochettino ahead of Saturday’s north London derby, and he has great expectations for the 46-year-old.
Tuning up for Tottenham
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 1, 2019
“He’s young, he has done a great job in all the teams in his career, especially here, in Tottenham,” Emery told reporters on Friday.
“I have a lot of respect for him as a person, because he’s a good person, but above all as a professional and a coach.
“He’s young and he’s going to do important things in football. I hope tomorrow [Saturday] it won’t be the case. I know him, respect him a lot and he’s a very good coach.”
Much of the focus from Arsenal’s perspective has been on Mesut Ozil in recent weeks, with the German continuing to be in and out of the team.
On several occasions Emery has urged Ozil to find consistency with his fitness, and he refused to confirm whether he is in contention to start against Spurs.
He said: “For us, we are doing a plan for a lot of matches and each match is different, whether it’s home or away, the opposition and how we are in each moment.
“The most important thing is whether each player can be okay for [Saturday]. Then we decide to play. With this, we’ll decide whether Mesut will play.”
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