This morning we caught up this with the Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino after his team’s impressive win against Fulham in the fifth round of this season’s FA Cup competition.
We had suggested a meeting at the Tottenham training ground in Enfield but were told that the first-team players had been given a morning off to enjoy the sunshine (not Dubai, admittedly, but obviously no Premier League club would ever consider putting its players under such stress at this stage in the season, what with the baggage weighing, the seat reserving, the taking off of very expensive and very bright trainers at security and a multitude of other tactical decisions that players in the ‘modern era’ have to make).
No, we are meeting at Garth’s Caff, named after a former Spurs food taster and now sponsored by Levy Restaurants UK, recognised for its ‘award-winning design credentials and thought leadership in customer experiences.’
Mauricio is seated at the far end of the dark, poky room, tapping his blue and white boot in time with the rocking chair leg (not really a rocking chair, more a chair with four uneven legs).
The Football Ground: “Thanks for agreeing to meet us this morning, Mauricio”
Pochettino: “Don’t drink the coffee! Is not a nice experience. I think that blend is wrong.”
The Football Ground: “OK, point taken. Is that a globe you’re holding? Perhaps a metaphor for putting Spurs back on the map?”
Pochettino: “No, no, is stress ball. We, errrmm, have difficult week and need to consider all the angles.”
The Football Ground: “Just as Harry Kane did yesterday?”
Pochettino: “Yes; why not? I think that Harry played a good game and, errmm, he plays down the middle which is fine for him because he fears corners. Is an English thing I think. He has the same worries in the centre circle but, once he plays down the middle he is, errmm, one on our own, as you…they, everyone says, though we have very good players who know where he is too.”
The Football Ground: “How did you find Fulham yesterday?”
Pochettino: “I think that is, errmm, important to take a wider view. We knew that Putney Bridge and Parsons Green would be close but I think we understand to see where we are going.”
The Football Ground: “So the tube map came in handy?”
Pochettino: “Why not? I think is, errmm, very important to understand where your opponent is coming from. Is difficult to stop the train without brakes. I think that we showed that yesterday.”
The Football Ground: “And yet you struggled against Gent?”
Pochettino: “I think is normal. It was, errmm, one of the richest cities in northern Europe in the Middle Ages and the football team’s nickname is ‘Buffalos.’ They charge; you know it I think.”
The Football Ground: “Will you be making many changes ahead of the return leg this week then?”
Pochettino: “For sure. We will be armed with rifles and many bullets. This is like a final for us and we must shoot much faster or they will chase us – like Sadio Mané did at Liverpool – and we will be afraid. We need to stand up and focus on what we can do or we will be trampled all over I think – like an Arsenal team. We must dare to believe in our stands.”
The Football Ground: “So you think the Europa League is more important than the FA Cup for Tottenham this season?”
Pochettino: “Is important, I think, for the world to see that we are one of the biggest clubs in London and forget about the Brexit. We showed this at Fulham and, also, against nastier teams like Chelsea and now Millwall. I think that we will win the FA Cup because the year has a one in it. I do not understand why, errmm, the club did not win the trophy in every year of the Twentieth Century.”
The Football Ground: “The saying goes that if it has a one at the end…”
Pochettino: “I never say ‘it.’ I think that is difficult but we will be prepared for pitch invasion and violence along the High Road as the last memory of our glory days at White Hart Lane. Is what makes the FA Cup so magical I think.”
*obviously, this is fictitious. So don’t sue us.