They will meet at Wembley on Sunday but 20 years ago Mauricio Pochettino was watching Ole Gunnar Solskjaer perform Champions League miracles for Manchester United at Camp Nou.
Tottenham host United in the Premier League this weekend – arguably the first real test of Solskjaer’s interim reign, which has so far delivered five wins from as many matches across all competitions.
Four of those came against sides currently in the bottom half of the table, while the other was over Championship strugglers Reading in the FA Cup third round last time out.
Nevertheless, a resurgent United will travel to Wembley looking to bridge the six-point gap between themselves and the top four.
Pochettino, who has been widely tipped to take over at Old Trafford come the end of the season, is relishing Sunday’s challenge and fondly remembers the finest moment of Solskjaer’s career, having been present to witness that sensational comeback against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final.
“I have good memories because also I remember when he scored after 90 minutes at Camp Nou. I was with Tony Jimenez, my goalkeeping coach, we were then at Nou Camp in 1999,” Pochettino told a media conference.
“I remember him when he scored the second goal in injury time and how I shouted the goal of Manchester United, that was unbelievable. We were neutral people watching a fantastic game.
“I have good memories of him. It was this type of moment; on Sunday we are going to meet at Wembley when 20 years ago I was shouting for a goal that he scored for Manchester United.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 10, 2019
Paul Pogba’s form has mirrored that of United under Solskjaer, the World Cup winner netting four goals and adding three assists in his four games since Jose Mourinho left the club, but Pochettino warned against the dangers of focusing too much on one individual.
“When you play in this Premier League every weekend, or every three days as we’ve been playing in the last few months, always it’s about the opponent having a few players that can make the difference,” Pochettino said.
“Like last Tuesday it was [Eden] Hazard, and now Pogba. Pogba is a very talented player, a great player of course. But it’s not only Pogba or Hazard, there are different players around.
“Of course they are special players. Manchester United have a great squad with great players with a lot of quality. Of course we are not going to be only focused on Pogba. We need to be focused on the whole team, not just one player.”
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