Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says Jose Mourinho is an inspiration despite his current frustrations at Manchester United as he prepares his side for Monday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
United have had a turbulent start to the new season, with Mourinho appearing to be at odds with the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and French World Cup winner Paul Pogba.
Mourinho will be desperate to get United back on track after a 3-2 defeat to Brighton but the game is also important for Spurs as they look to improve on a generally poor away record against their biggest rivals under Pochettino.
Despite Mourinho’s travails, his opposite number at Spurs, who has two wins out of two games so far this season, still holds the utmost respect for the man who has won multiple trophies during a glittering managerial career.
Asked what he has learned from Mourinho, Pochettino said: “A lot of things. I think for every single manager that is younger than him he was the inspirational manager.
“Of course he is an unbelievable manager and of course the circumstances that happen with myself and happen with different managers is always going to be up and down. He has been inspirational — but I am younger than him.”
If Mourinho had had his way this summer, defender Toby Alderweireld could have been featuring for United against Spurs.
But despite strong reported interest, a bid was never made and the Belgian has so far stayed at Spurs, playing 90 minutes against Fulham last week.
Alderweireld’s future has been a constant source of speculation ever since he failed to agree a new deal and Pochettino did not commit to whether he will be playing at Old Trafford.
“This season is a challenge, a completely different challenge for us, because it’s only three weeks that the players arrive from the World Cup and are in training,” he said.
“Always you need six or seven weeks to start to compete in a normal season, that is why sometimes you need to be careful how they react after the effort of 90 minutes.
“Sure I am going to do some changes, some names, sometimes I keep this formation, or we are going to play with different formation.”
All eyes will be on Monday’s teamsheet to see if Hugo Lloris features after the goalkeeper and club captain was charged with drink-driving on Friday.
The French World Cup winner has apologised “wholeheartedly”.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Marisa Kennedy)