Belfast Telegraph

Mauricio Pochettino excited for latest battle with ‘inspirational’ Jose Mourinho

The pair meet at Old Trafford on Monday night.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has cited Jose Mourinho as one of his biggest inspirations.

Pochettino and Mourinho go head-to-head on Monday night as Spurs visit Old Trafford for a game which is already being described as vital, even at this early stage of the season.

All does not appear to be well at Manchester United, with Mourinho reportedly battling fall-outs with the board and key players while a 3-2 loss at Brighton last week did not help matters.

The game is important for Spurs, too, as they look to improve on a generally poor away record at the top-six clubs under Pochettino.

Whatever stress Mourinho is under though, his opposite number still holds the utmost respect for him.

Asked what he has learned off 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 his way this summer, Toby Alderweireld might have been featuring for United against Spurs on Monday night.

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.

“Like always, my decisions are my decisions, and sometimes it’s difficult for the people to understand, and of course for journalists, it’s not easy,” he said.

“But I consider that the starting XI against Fulham was the best starting XI to win the game. Like I am going to consider for the next game, the best starting XI and maybe make a few changes too.

“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.

“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, but we still have a few days to take the best decision for the team.”

Whether that includes Hugo Lloris remains to be seen after the goalkeeper was charged with drink driving on Friday.

The Frenchman is the club captain and apologised “wholeheartedly” for his actions.

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