Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he would love to return to the world of Premier League management.
The 47-year-old currently has the relaxed air about him of a man who has spent almost three months away from the intensity of his chosen profession, detaching himself completely from football. But it is clear the ambition to return to the sport, specifically in England, burns brightly inside him.
He has enough integrity to never mention the names of the clubs which have been consistently linked with his services, especially those with managers already in post.
Pochettino would be a desired target for any club in the Premier League because of his work at Tottenham, but for now the approach from the man himself is that of the – almost entirely, but not quite – straight bat.
“To be honest, I would love to work in the Premier League,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult, I know, and for now it’s a moment to wait and we’ll see what happens.
“It’s a moment of recovery, to think about yourself a little bit, and to be ready because in football always something can happen and you need to be ready.
“I’m ready and waiting for a new challenge. I have the belief and confidence that the next challenge will be fantastic.”
Pochettino has been away from Spurs and out of football since November 19. He has taken the time for deep reflection and has kept only a marginal eye on the clubs which have been associated with him.
“I was in Argentina, I was in Qatar, I was in Spain and I have Jesus [Perez, assistant manager to Pochettino at Spurs] who follows the news a little bit but I notice the rumours,” he said.
“All of the coaching staff accept that there are rumours. We deal with rumours naturally.
“The people need natural people, normal people and we don’t say that we are unique with that but we are not actors and we don’t do anything that we don’t believe.”
For more than five years, that belief embedded itself in a winning culture at Tottenham. There will always be a feeling of regret that such a positive philosophy was never manifest in silverware, but Pochettino was the guiding hand during a period of great transition in north London, and his role in that remains a source of huge pride.
“Of course I feel very proud about everything I achieved at Tottenham and when I analyse my time there, plenty of positive things happened,” says Pochettino. “I took charge at a pivotal moment for the club.
“Everything I had to do was very scary in those moments. To destroy White Hart Lane and to build a new stadium, to play at Wembley and Milton Keynes, only football people know how difficult it was to deal with these situations.
“To apply a new philosophy and new ideas was very tough but I feel very proud with the success that we had and to take Tottenham to a different level.
“To play in the Champions League for three or four years and finish above Arsenal many times was a great legacy for us. To win a title would be a great reward but for us that is the legacy, to have the club and the stadium at Tottenham. That is more than winning titles.”