Mauricio Pochettino insists he never lost focus amid speculation that he was being lined up as Manchester United’s next permanent manager.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was initially appointed as Jose Mourinho’s interim replacement in December, with a brief to steady the ship until the end of the season.
Tottenham boss Pochettino was tipped as one of the leading candidates to get the full-time job, but the stunning turnaround engineered by Solskjaer saw him appointed as the Red Devils’ new permanent manager on Thursday.
Pochettino – who was also linked with the Real Madrid post before Zinedine Zidane was reappointed earlier this month – is adamant that his attention was never diverted from his current employers.
“I never talked about rumours,” he told a media conference ahead of Tottenham’s visit to Liverpool on Sunday.
“But, of course, I need to congratulate him [Solskjaer] and wish him all the best now he is officially the new manager of Manchester United.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 29, 2019
“I don’t talk about rumours and in this period there will be a lot more. It always happens. This season it is going to happen, last season, the season before.
“Maybe it can be a big issue for normal people, who are not in this business. The people on the street think it will affect the focus of the player, manager or staff, but for us it is normal.
“We are focused. It doesn’t mean we will win all the games. It is our job and we need to live with this type of situation and deal with that.”
Pochettino will belatedly lead his side out at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Crystal Palace on Wednesday after the project suffered a series of delays.
The Argentinian has described it as “the best stadium in the world” and believes it could give his players an edge as they battle with United, Chelsea and Arsenal for a top-four spot.
“It’s amazing,” he added. “The stadium is the best in the world. Every single space in it is the best I’ve seen in my life. You cannot compare with another.
“It’s an amazing project and an amazing stadium. It’s going to be fantastic for the future of the club.
“In my opinion it’s going to be a massive boost for our fans and must be for our players too. To feel home again is so important but we need to try to make sure it doesn’t affect our performance.”
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