Listen back IN FULL as talkSPORT’s Laura Woods sat down for an exclusive chat with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino ahead of the Champions League final against Liverpool.
We caught up with the Spurs boss at the club’s Enfield Training Centre this week to check in on his side’s preparations for the Madrid showdown, and ask about his plans for the future.
Pochettino appeared to put to bed doubts over his future by insisting he is ‘motivated’ to help Spurs develop into one of the elite clubs in world football.
“Today Tottenham is, for me, the best club in the world when we talk about facilities,” he declared.
“This training ground and the new stadium, which is the best in the world, there is no better club. And then it’s in London, there’s no better city, it’s England, it’s the Premier League – the toughest and most exciting league.
Pochettino is in it for the long haul at Tottenham
“We need to make that step and of course we realise we can continue in this process and we can put Tottenham with the best teams in the world.
“There’s still a lot of work to do, but of course I am so motivated to stay with Tottenham and provide Tottenham with what they deserve.”
The Argentine also revealed his love for Game of Thrones – although not for the final season or its much-discussed ending – and explained why he always has a giant bowl of lemons in his office…
… and why he has to replace them when he gets a visit from Spurs chairman Daniel Levy!
You’re going to need more lemons, Mauricio!
“They attract the bad energy,” the Spurs boss said.
“A lot of people come in and out of my office and not all the people have good energy.
“So when people arrive with bad every, the energy is going to be in the lemon and not in myself. It’s like a sponge, it takes all the negatively.
“You can see it, it’s unbelievable! I change the lemons every ten days but sometimes every three or four days, they become ugly.
“When Daniel Levy is not around my office, they last one month, but when he is coming in and out, they last a week!”
Pochettino also reflected on the roller-coaster of emotions he felt as he watched Tottenham’s stunning semi-final comeback against Ajax from the sidelines.
Spurs looked dead and buried when Ajax scored twice in Amsterdam to give them a 3-0 aggregate lead, but Lucas Moura sparked pandemonium as his late hat-trick saw the north London side progress on away goals.
The manager was pictured sinking to his knees in tears at the final whistle, and then joining his team in wild celebrations on the pitch.
“It was a massive achievement for us,” he explained. “It was one of our dreams when we started the process here at Tottenham.
Pochettino was in tears at the full time whistle
“We’ve worked so hard and we have shared a lot of tough moments, so when you achieve something that nobody believed was possible, it is very emotional.
“And of course, we know how hard we work to reach this level, which is why it is difficult to keep your emotions inside.
“When Lucas Moura scored that third goal, in this moment I lost my head, I lost my composure and I nearly regretted it. When the referee said, ‘one minute more’, I wanted to kill myself!
“We were celebrating before we finished the game and in that moment we realised what a big mistake we were making because we jumped and ran inside the pitch and we believed the game was finished, but then we needed to defend again for one minute. It was the longest minute of my life.
Pochettino admits he got a little carried away after his team’s stunning win in Amsterdam
“The best memory is when we finished, it was amazing – a big hug with my people, my son, the players, the staff. It’s an amazing memory.
“We got back to the lodge at Tottenham, were sitting on the sofa, watching the repeat of the match and we opened a bottle of Argentinan red wine. It was 3 o’clock that we arrived at the lodge and it was difficult to go to sleep because we were still in disbelief over what had happened a few hours before.”
Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Mauricio Pochettino IN FULL above