English Premiership

No regrets for Pochettino

2014-10-06 08:27
Mauricio Pochettino (AFP)

London - Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham's 1-0 win over his former club Southampton proves he is right to have no regrets about swapping St Mary's for White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton

Pochettino quit Southampton to take charge of Spurs in the close-season and his first reunion with his old employers was an emotional occasion for the Argentine, who claims walking out on the south coast side was one of the hardest decisions of his career.

He could have been forgiven for second guessing his move over the last few weeks as Tottenham struggled through a frustrating run of one win in seven matches in all competitions, while Southampton climbed to second in the Premier League under his successor Ronald Koeman.

But the Tottenham manager is confident his switch to north London will be vindicated in the long run and he took heart from his team's victory at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Spurs took the lead through Christian Eriksen's 40th minute strike before surviving a late Southampton barrage to secure their first league victory since August and end the visitors' six-match winning run.

"I know we arrived in a difficult period for Tottenham. The last couple of years were different and we need time to improve and put into practice our new philosophy," Pochettino said.

"I have no regrets about my decision. It is done, I'm happy to be here and happy with the three points today.

"I think the team deserved to win. It was important for our confidence.

"I'm happy for the performance. There was no extra pressure, but it was very emotional for me. I still love Southampton."

Pochettino's respect for Southampton wasn't reciprocated by his former club's travelling fans, who made their dislike for the Argentine clear with a series of abusive chants.

But Pochettino had already steeled himself for that reaction given the partisan and emotional nature of football fans, and he was adamant the terrace taunts couldn't ruin his feelings for the Saints.

"This is football. It doesn't change my feelings or nothing. It was a great 18 months for me and my family so it was a very hard decision for me to leave," he said.

"For me it was a great moment in my life and I will always be grateful to the board and the people there."

- Gradually improve -

Southampton remain two points above Spurs despite Sunday's result and, in contrast to the fairly pressure-free environment at St Mary's, Pochettino, who has to answer to demanding chairman Daniel Levy, knows the pressure is on to mount a strong challenge to qualify for the Champions League.

"For me the table now is not important. We have a lot of work to improve our individual play and our collective qualities," he said.

"I'm happy for the performance and in the game we showed we are a team. This is important because we are growing."

While Pochettino played down the hostile reception he received, Koeman was less impressed with his club's fans.

"Yes, okay that is the reaction of the fans and I don't agree with that," he said.

"I think everybody needs respect and normally the respect is high in the Premier League.

"I respect Mauricio and he did a great job in Southampton. Now he is the manager of Tottenham and it is a great challenge for him."

Koeman wasn't too concerned by Southampton's failure to turn their second half pressure into an equaliser, with Victor Wanyama brilliantly denied by Hugo Lloris and Sadio Mane missing a late sitter.

"I'm disappointed about the final result but not about our performance," Koeman said.

"It was a pity they scored before half-time. Little by little we pushed up and got the best chance with Sadio.

"We did everything in the second half but score."


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