Mauricio Pochettino is convinced he will not be booed by the fans when he returns to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as manager of London rivals Chelsea in a Premier League clash on Monday night.
Pochettino’s side fell to a disappointing defeat against Brentford last time out in the league before returning to winning ways in midweek against Blackburn Rovers.
The 51-year-old Argentine tactician Pochettino said he will not let his history affect his attitude, nor his dealings with both sets of clubs’ supporters.
“I don’t believe we need to show something special, ” said Pochettino.
‘‘We need to be natural, that’s the most important thing.
“You cannot underestimate the Tottenham and Chelsea fans. I don’t want to be a hypocrite and say something I don’t feel, or I’m in the process of creating. People are clever.
“Chelsea fans know I was Tottenham, they know about the Champions League, they know about the Battle of the Bridge. It’s impossible to hide this emotion. Now I cannot say I forget all those things.
“I’m going to be natural. I hope to enjoy a great game, I want to win, that is our competitive side, and at the same time, I want to enjoy being in a place where I was part of the process of building something special. That’s it. I am really calm, and I want to enjoy it, and I hope for a good night for us.”
Pochettino was in charge of Tottenham between 2014 and 2019, a period in which they reached the Champions League final and mounted a couple of genuine title challenges.
Meanwhile, former Spurs player Jermaine Jenas says Pochettino should expect a hostile welcome from the fans after the Argentine took a coaching job from London rivals Chelsea.
“The interesting part of the whole thing is the return of Mauricio – is he going to get some love for what he did for that football club? Or is it just going to be boo central?” Jenas said.
“I think he just crossed the line; I think that’s the issue. From your point of view, for example, you said to me a minute ago, ‘He’s Chelsea now’.
“He needs to make peace with the fact that that ship has sailed with what he’s done at Spurs and this rivalry is real. I think the boo boys are going to be out and he’s just going to have to swallow it, unfortunately.”