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Mauricio Pochettino said he might have ended his five-year spell at Tottenham if he had guided the team to Champions League glory in last season’s final against Liverpool.
Spurs were beaten 2-0 by Jurgen Klopp’s team in the Madrid, prompting intense speculation over Pochettino’s future as manager.
And the Argentine, who has been linked with managerial roles at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus in recent months, admitted ahead of Tottenham’s International Champions Cup clash against Juve (live at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN2) in Singapore that winning the Champions League would have given Spurs “the possibility of a new chapter with a new coaching staff.”
“Of course, it’s always in your head, you never know,” Pochettino said. “With the way I am, I am always going to prioritise the club over myself.
“But maybe if it was a different result after the final you can think, ‘OK, maybe this is a moment to step out of the club, leave the club and give them the possibility of a really new chapter with a new coaching staff.’
“But after the final, I felt this was not great to finish like this. I’m not a person that avoids facing problems or a difficult situation.
“I am more on that side — I love a massive challenge, a difficult challenge and of course now, to rebuild that mentality to make it possible to repeat a similar season, that is exciting and motivates me a lot.”
When asked whether beating Liverpool would have prompted him and Spurs to be facing a different scenario ahead of the new season, Pochettino admitted that winning silverware would have influenced his decision.
“For sure, for sure,” he said. “You know very much when you touch glory, you behave differently or you feel different or the players feel different and the challenge becomes different.
“It’s like Kieran [Trippier] explained to me in private and to the media in Madrid he loved to be at Tottenham and work with us, but, at 28, 29, sometimes a player needs to discover need things and new challenges.
“That is inside yourself and it’s only you who knows how you feel – it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing, it’s about accepting how you feel.
“You are an individual, you have individual challenges and you have to accept if all the parts are happy.”
But despite admitting that he endured a tough summer after the Champions League final, Pochettino said that he is now fully focused and motivated for the season ahead.
“The holidays were so tough for myself, it was difficult to move on from the final,” he said. “We prepared for three weeks, fantastic. There was happiness and the mood was the best, so it was a shame to finish with a bad feeling.
“It’s still hard and tough and difficult, but we need to move on.
“For the first time in the history of Tottenham, we reached the Champions League final. We came so close to win, we deserved to win and against a great team like Liverpool.
“But of course, last week we started to train, motivate ourselves again and look forward to another season.
“After five years in a difficult project at Tottenham, we talk a lot about perception and reality, how we fight and all the energy we expend trying to get Tottenham fighting with the best teams in Europe and England.
“We can’t forget that we came from a period that was to build a stadium and the training ground. We played two seasons at Wembley, played in three grounds last season, so maybe that’s a bit unfair [to compare Spurs to Liverpool and Manchester City.]
“Perhaps teams should use Tottenham as an inspiration.”