Is Poch the Real deal?

Pochettino (left) speaks with Rob Palmer.
Pochettino (left) speaks with Rob Palmer. / SUR

  • Mauricio Pochettino has many admirers in the media and has often been touted for a potential return to La Liga

What a top manager allows the fans to see and what he is actually like beyond that portrayed image are quite often two very different things.

Mauricio Pochettino has many admirers in the media and has often been touted for a potential return to La Liga at one of the giant clubs. This week I had the chance to study his personality and methods at close quarters and I can see why he is held in such high esteem at Tottenham.

What you don't see is the legendary manager who taps his watch off-camera when he's had enough of your questions, the one-time international boss who slaps his cheeks pre-interview so he looks more radiant or the egotistic leader who insisted that we never used pictures of him wearing his glasses.

This wasn't the first time I'd interviewed the Argentinian. The previous occasion he was very charming but managers tend to be like that post-match when they have just won.

The first thing I noticed was a little bit of Sir Alex Ferguson about him. Fergie always preferred a one-to-one interview instead of a press conference so that he could control the interviewer. Just like his players, you were given individual treatment. He could charm you or give you an ear bashing.

Pochettino is a little more modern than that. He'd obviously been briefed on the four interviews and exactly who was conducting them and what their line of questions would be.

The Spanish speaking interviewer wanted to know all about Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona. Pochettino gave some insightful comparisons. Tick - South America charmed.

The world feed interviewer asked about European football. He spoke about Real Madrid and Barcelona in glowing terms (just in case their presidents may be tuning in).

The "personality" interview with a lady who clearly wanted the feature to be as much about her was an interesting challenge. She produced a programme from four years ago when he was under scrutiny. He cleverly turned it around by pointing out that ten of the younger players with high squad numbers were still at the club and starring for Spurs.

My assignment was a feature interview for Soccer Saturday with a request from Sky Sports News to ask about the tackle by Eric Dier which flattened Sergio Ramos in the Spain v England game. I was a little unsure how to weave it into the interview... but he was ahead of the game.

As soon as I said "Eric Dier's performance for England." He retorted with "What a tackle!"

And this is where he gets clever. "You remember me as a player in Liga, all I could do was tackle. I'm so proud of him."

Pochettino had done his homework on me, charmed me and disarmed me. Not that I had any bullets!

Watch out for him. He's good, he's very good. He has my commendation for a top job when the even bigger clubs come knocking.