Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino believes Roy Hodgson and Pep Guardiola should share the accolade of being the best Premier League manager this season.
Hodgson has guided Crystal Palace to virtual safety after inheriting a team that looked doomed for relegation while Guardiola’s all-conquering Manchester City side have been scintillating to watch on their way to an impressive title.
Both jobs could not have been more different and with the awards season in full swing, Pochettino reckons the duo should share the gong of Premier League Manager of the Season.
“For me, if we only see the trophies? Of course Guardiola,” Pochettino said. “And with all the context? If we analyse every single context, every single club, with the circumstance, I think Roy Hodgson.
“For me, if you say to me, pick one – I cannot pick one. I am going to pick two. Pep Guardiola deserves it and Roy Hodgson deserves it. For me there are two winners.”
Some would say that Pochettino might be in the running, having guided Spurs to the brink of a third successive Champions League campaign without a home ground.
The Argentinian was facetious with his response on whether he would be a contender, sarcastically pointing to the clamour for his side to win a trophy.
“For sure, me no,” he said. “Because we are the best team in the world and we didn’t win a trophy, it is impossible to be the best manager.”
Guardiola is perhaps the favourite to win it, therefore becoming the first City manager to do so, given the way his side have stormed to the Premier League title, but Pochettino has a suggestion for the way the awards are handed out.
He added: “For me it is like (Antonio) Conte last season and (Claudio) Ranieri the season before – whoever wins the Premier League deserves to be the best manager. It is normal.
“Then we need to create another, to analyse every single club with all the context to decide who is the best.
“If you have the best car and you win, you deserve the trophy. Then maybe you over-achieve with a car that cannot compete with another.
“To know only who is the best you need to start with the same conditions, the same car and the same engine – the same everything.”
Spurs will book their top-four spot if they beat West Brom on Saturday and then Chelsea fail to beat Liverpool 24 hours later.
They look likely to be without midfielder Mousa Dembele, who will be assessed after suffering an ankle injury against Watford on Monday.
The Belgian international has had plenty of minutes in recent weeks and Pochettino says they will manage him carefully between now and the end of the season.
“We need to be careful about his ankle and then it’s about managing him in the best way to be fit, so he can play,” he said.
“He twisted his ankle and felt pain and now we need to wait a few days to see what happens but I don’t think it’s a big issue.
“It’s not a problem but of course he’s a player we need to pay attention to, maybe more than another, because we know very well what happened in his ankle.”