Home News eric abidal comments on why barcelona rejected appointing mauricio pochettino despite his tottenham hotspurs exploits

Eric Abidal comments on why Barcelona rejected Mauricio Pochettino despite his Tottenham Hotspur exploits



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Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur parted ways with Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino in November 2019 following a woeful start to the season that left the club in 14th in the Premier League table before his departure.

The 49-year-old has since become the boss of French giants Paris Saint-Germain, succeeding Thomas Tuchel at the Parc des Princes in January 2021.

However, he was linked with becoming Barcelona boss just after he left Spurs, but his links with Espanyol and a joke he had made while he was at Tottenham about preferring to work on a farm in Argentina than manage the Catalans did not do him any favours with the Josep Bartomeu-led board.

Erstwhile Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal has revealed that Pochettino was his most preferred candidate to replace Ernesto Valverde who was sacked in January 2020, but the Catalans went for Quique Setien.

“On my list was Mauricio Pochettino, Quique Setien, Max Allegri and Xavi Hernandez,” Abidal told The Telegraph.

“Quique was appointed, but my first option was Pochettino. I told the board, ‘I have to bring the best coach we can in the market. I’m not here for politics because he was before in Espanyol’.

“For me, it’s not politics. I wanted the best, and Pochettino is one of the best in our game. He reached the Champions League final with Tottenham – you have to respect this.

“He has a good philosophy of playing, a good philosophy of training, players love him, and I think he would be a better coach now for this situation, but with a real project.”

“I knew there was a political problem because I gave my argument to the board, and some answers were focused on Espanyol and not on the technical part.

“And I think he did an interview many years ago; I will not say he talked bad about the club, he said something about going to Argentina first before he will train Barcelona. This was a problem for some people’s egos, and they said ‘no because he’s not respecting the club’.

“But many years ago (Jose) Mourinho said Barcelona was always in his heart and he became the coach of Real Madrid because this happens in careers and different situations present themselves.

“You don’t have to mix politics with professional decisions, but Barcelona is a unique club with a large board and many people making the decisions.”

Despite ending his five-and-a-half seasons at Spurs without a single silverware, Pochettino is still regarded as one of the best managers in the game, and PSG did not hesitate to appoint him as Tuchel’s replacement.

He has since won the Trophée des Champions with the French giants, and his side are currently top of the Ligue 1 table with just eight games to go.

Setien’s Barcelona reign lasted just seven months, with the club firing him three days after their 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League last term.

They replaced him with Ronald Koeman, and while they have been impressive since the turn of the year, not many are convinced that the Dutchman has what it takes to take the club to the next level.

Pochettino showed Barcelona what they are missing when PSG met with them in the last-16 of this season’s Champions League, with his side running out 5-2 winners on aggregate after securing a 4-1 victory in the first-leg at Camp Nou.

Tottenham appointed Jose Mourinho as his replacement, but the Special One is yet to impress, and many fans believe that Pochettino should have been given more time and more support in the transfer windows.

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