Tottenham have made contact with former manager Mauricio Pochettino — currently boss of Paris Saint-Germain — about a return to the club, according to widespread reports in the British press on Friday.
The 49-year-old left Spurs in November 2019 after five years in charge and was replaced by Jose Mourinho, who was sacked last month.
Media reports say it is understood the London club have spoken to the Argentine, who replaced Thomas Tuchel at PSG in January, regarding the potential prospect of a second spell in charge in London.
PSG missed out on the Ligue 1 title for only the second time in nine seasons and lost to Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals but won the French Cup.
The French club on Thursday issued an interview on their interview featuring Pochettino, who has 12 months left on his contract, talking about doing “great things in the future”.
“I’m happy with the way the players have adapted to the changes,” he said. “There are many things which could not be changed or which could not be developed for lack of time.
“But I still think that with this way of working, and with the desire to be able to develop other types of ideas on the ground, we will do great things in the future.”
Ajax boss Erik ten Hag and Brighton’s Graham Potter have been linked with the Spurs job and Antonio Conte could be in the frame following his exit from Inter Milan just days after winning the Italian title.
Pochettino would likely be the most popular appointment among the fans.
Tottenham mounted back-to-back Premier League title challenges under Pochettino before a memorable run to the 2019 Champions League final, where they lost to Liverpool.
But their form dipped alarmingly at the beginning of the following season and Pochettino was sacked in November 2019.
His relationship with the club — and chairman Daniel Levy — remained strong and he spoke about returning to the club one day.
In an interview in April last year, Pochettino told BT Sport: “Deep in my heart I am sure our paths will cross again. From the day I left the club, my dream is to be back one day and to try to finish the work we didn’t finish.”
“I thought I’d still be playing football, I’m probably in my prime to be honest of footballing ability. But football is a crazy, crazy sport,” he said.
“It’s bizarre. I experienced so much as a player, I had to deal with so much, having the serious injury, fighting for my life, coming back, having to retire, coming back to this great football club and representing them as a coach and learning – it’s crazy.
“The fact I am representing this football club and the fact I get the opportunity to walk us out at our beautiful stadium is a great honour.”
Tottenham’s bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League suffered a setback as Joe Willock’s late strike rescued a 2-2 draw for lowly Newcastle, while Southampton took a huge step towards survival with a 3-2 victory over fellow strugglers Burnley on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s side were just five minutes away from moving into fourth place when Willock equalised at St James’ Park.
Joelinton had put Newcastle ahead, but Harry Kane struck twice in four minutes before the break.
Even Kane’s latest heroics weren’t enough for Tottenham though and they now sit in fifth place, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with eight games left.
West Ham would climb above both of their London rivals into fourth if they win at Wolves on Monday.
“I’m frustrated. We needed to win the match. We created some instability with so many individual defensive mistakes that we made,” Mourinho said.
“Of course, we had the biggest chance of the game to make it 3-1 and kill it, then we concede a goal the next minute.”
Asked why Tottenham have struggled to hold onto leads when his teams have been so solid defensively in the past, Mourinho replied: “Same coach, different players.
“The Premier League is hard and is high-level football, and when in some actions you don’t show that you belong to that high level of football, it’s difficult.”
Willock’s goal could prove invaluable for fourth-bottom Newcastle as they battle to avoid relegation.
Steve Bruce’s side are without a win in seven games and sit three points above third-bottom Fulham, who would go above them if they win at Aston Villa later on Sunday.
Newcastle’s early pressure was rewarded, with an helping hand from Tottenham’s Japhet Tanganga, in the 28th minute.
Tanganga gifted possession to Matt Ritchie with a wayward pass and the Tottenham defender’s team-mates were slow to react as Sean Longstaff found the unmarked Joelinton, who slotted home from close range.
The much-maligned striker’s first goal since November proved a false dawn as Newcastle were ahead for just 90 seconds before Kane, fresh from ending his England goal drought, punished the hosts’ woeful defending.
Trying to cut out Giovani Lo Celso’s pass, Emil Krafth made a hash of clearing and Kane pounced on the ricochet to tap into the empty net.
Four minutes later, Kane bagged his 29th club goal of the season in ruthless style as he raced onto Tanguy Ndombele’s inch-perfect pass and fired into the far corner.
But Kane was denied a third goal when he hit the post and moments later Newcastle snatched an 85th-minute equaliser.
Joelinton headed Ritchie’s cross back across goal and although Hugo Lloris kept out Miguel Almiron’s header, on-loan Arsenal midfielder Willock slammed home off the underside of the bar.
– Saints alive – At St Mary’s, Southampton moved 10 points clear of the relegation zone with eight games left after a dramatic fightback.
Chris Wood’s 12th-minute penalty put Burnley ahead after Kyle Walker-Peters’ challenge on Erik Pieters.
Matej Vydra doubled the visitors’ lead with a fine finish in the 28th minute.
But Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side hit back impressively as Stuart Armstrong and Danny Ings scored before half-time.
In the 31st minute, Scotland midfielder Armstrong fired home after Ings flicked a James Ward-Prowse pass into his path.
And the hosts were level four minutes before the break courtesy of Ings, who was back in action after a month on the sidelines with a leg injury.
Former Burnley striker Ings raced on to Walker-Peters’ pass and produced a clinical finish.
Saints midfielder Nathan Redmond bagged the 66th-minute winner when he volleyed home from Theo Walcott’s cross.
“These points were important,” Hasenhuttl said. “When you see five goals it’s always good for TV, but not so good for the hearts of the managers.”
After only their second league win in 13 games, FA Cup semi-finalists Southampton are three points above Burnley, who sit seven points ahead of Fulham.
Second-placed Manchester United take on Brighton at Old Trafford in Sunday’s last match.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said he has never experienced a similar feeling to the pain of crashing out of the Europa League to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday.
Spurs took a 2-0 first leg lead to the Croatian capital, but a hat-trick of excellent finishes from Mislav Orsic claimed a huge shock for Dinamo.
Mourinho turned on his players’ attitude after the match, while Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris branded the result a “disgrace”.
In his two previous campaigns in the Europa League, Mourinho won the competition with Porto and Manchester United.
The Portuguese also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, while the majority of his exits from European football’s top competition have come in the latter stages to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
“Honestly I don’t believe (I had) a similar feeling,” said Mourinho when asked if it was his worst European exit.
“I had in Europe moments of big pain but pain caused by what football is. I lost two Champions League semi-finals on penalties. It hurts you. (I’m) maybe still bleeding.
“But the passion for football, the respect for your job is something that hurts me deeply. And I have this very bad feeling. This very bad feeling because maybe for some people in football, football is a job or a way to make money.
“For me, it’s much more than that. That’s what I never lose – this basics of football, which is the passion, the heart, the desire. I feel very, very hurt that I cannot find more words to describe it.”
Mourinho’s future at Tottenham is now in doubt with a return to the Champions League next season looking unlikely.
Spurs are eighth in the Premier League, six points adrift of the top four, although they do have a game in hand away to Aston Villa on Sunday.
Mourinho also has one other chance to save his first full season in charge when Tottenham face runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City in the League Cup final next month.
But he acknowledged the size of the task his side face at Wembley if they are to halt City’s quest for an unprecedented quadruple.
“The only chance that we have to win a trophy this season is the final that we have to play against a very good team, against the next champions and a team that match after match show an incredible desire of winning,” added Mourinho.
“So it’ll be a very difficult final and if we want to have a chance to win it, the attitude has to be completely different.”
Manchester City have set their sights on a clean sweep of the four major trophies as the runaway Premier League leaders prepare to host high-flying West Ham this weekend.
To have any chance of putting City under pressure, second-placed Manchester United must end Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start as Chelsea boss.
AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points ahead of the weekend action in the English top-flight.
Man City flex musclesManchester City’s march to the top of the Premier League was not a surprise given their title-winning pedigree, but their record-breaking surge has fuelled belief that they can achieve greatness.
City chalked up their 19th successive win in all competitions — a record for an English top-flight side — as they eased to a 2-0 victory at Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola’s side are 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League, face Tottenham in the League Cup final and have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Bernardo Silva, who was on the scoresheet against Borussia, gave voice to City’s swaggering confidence after they moved a step closer to an unprecedented quadruple.
Unbeaten in 26 matches stretching back to November, Silva said City could set a new standard of excellence after their domestic treble two years ago.
“We know we have good momentum, but this is just the last 16 of the Champions League,” he said. “We have the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup.
“It is going to be a tough season but we are going to try to win them all.”
Man Utd face Tuchel testManchester United are the closest challengers to Manchester City, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will need a major collapse from their rivals if they are to win the title for the first time since 2013.
Victory at Chelsea on Sunday is essential to keep United’s faint hopes alive.
That will not be easy given the Blues’ revival under former Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel.
Since replacing the sacked Frank Lampard in January, Tuchel has won six of his eight games in all competitions to lift Chelsea up to fifth place.
But United are unbeaten in five league games and their forward Marcus Rashford believes they are becoming a force to be reckoned with.
“I think we’ve said all season that we’re a team that’s still improving, learning lessons about ourselves every game,” he said.
“We have to concentrate on ourselves and keep giving the best version of us. Ultimately that’s going to make us win the games.”
Alli comes in from the cold after spending much of the season cast into exile by Jose Mourinho, Dele Alli’s return to form has given the Tottenham manager a welcome selection headache.
Alli appeared close to leaving on loan during the January transfer window before the club reportedly blocked the England midfielder’s attempt to rejoin his former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino at PSG.
The 24-year-old has since held clear-the-air talks with Mourinho and has been reintegrated into the squad.
Alli used Wednesday’s 4-0 Europa League win over Wolfsberger to underline his qualities, scoring a brilliant overhead kick and providing two assists.
Ninth-placed Tottenham must beat Burnley on Sunday to get back in top-four contention.
“These are the headaches that I love,” Mourinho said, referring to his selection quandaries. “The headaches that you don’t like are lots of people not performing. Lots of doubts, by negative reasons.
“These are the wonderful problems. The players they need to understand this concept of team, and the intensity of matches. If you have everybody ready or play at this level, it’s the best thing to happen to the team.”
Manchester City v West Ham (1230), West Brom v Brighton (1500), Leeds v Aston Villa (1730), Newcastle v Wolves (2000)
Crystal Palace v Fulham (1200), Leicester v Arsenal (1200), Tottenham v Burnley (1400), Chelsea v Manchester United (1630), Sheffield United v Liverpool (1915)
Tottenham forward, Son Heung-min has said his military service in South Korea was a “special experience.”
Son, 27, performed a three-week mandatory service in his native country in April just after recovering from a fractured arm.
While speaking about his experience during the service, he said he enjoyed it and he did everything possible to make the most of the moment.
He said, also, that he met some nice persons during the period even though it was tough.
“It’s not private, it was in newspapers everywhere! I had to wear the army suit (uniform). It was a special experience,” he told Spurs TV.
“These guys will never have that experience. I couldn’t say everything I did, but I really enjoyed it, the guys were nice. Three weeks were tough, but those experiences… I will never have those experiences. I tried to enjoy the three weeks.”
The player injured his arm in mid-February before the Premier League was suspended due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Matches in the Premier League will restart in June with Liverpool expected to win the trophy.