‘I’m proud to sit here with you’ - Mauricio interviewed by Ossie and Ricky
29 April 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Imagine the scene. There you are, talking about a huge Spurs-Arsenal derby, the last at White Hart Lane - it doesn’t get any bigger - and then, from nowhere, two legendary figures from your sporting childhood and the Club you now manage walk through the door.
That’s what happened to Mauricio Pochettino on Friday, as his regular pre-match interview with Spurs TV had a welcome interruption as none other than his Argentine compatriots Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa walked through the door!
World Cup winners for Argentina in 1978, the pair will forever be linked with Spurs. Arriving at the Club after that success in 1978, the pair shone at the Lane, Ossie famously going on to achieve his dream and ‘win the cup for Tott-ing-ham’ thanks to Ricky’s wonder goal against Manchester City in 1981. Between them, they played just short of 500 times for Spurs in all competitions with Ossie later managing the Club himself.
Who better to talk about the derby?
Take it away Ossie...
Ossie: “Okay, so we have an easy game on Sunday..!”
Ricky: “I haven’t been to a derby for 20 years, I think. After I left the country, I’ve never come back to see the derby. It’s important.”
Mauricio: “Yes Ricky, you know this well.”
Ossie: “Okay, how are you feeling, is everything okay?”
Mauricio: “Yes, everything is okay and we’re all excited for the game. You know better than me what it means to play against our sporting enemy. I think it will be a great derby because it’s the last derby against Arsenal at White Hart Lane it will be a special day for our fans."
Ossie: “For the players, it will be quite difficult, it’s the last derby and so on, but they have to do the job.”
Mauricio: “We are so focused because we are fighting to try to catch Chelsea. We know it will be difficult and we have five games ahead. What it means to play Arsenal is always a massive thing for our fans and our players are aware of that. You could feel after the Palace game how the players are, excited. It’s important to manage that excitement because it’s important to spend that energy in the moment we play. We have to be clever, to rest and to recharge all the batteries.”
Ossie: “There haven’t been many derbies where we’ve been on top of Arsenal in terms of points – this is another wonderful thing.”
Mauricio: “Yes, it’s important for us and our fans. It’s true, our focus is to try to win, try to win the three points and to still fight for the Premier League, but it’s impossible not to think that this derby means a lot.”
Ricky: “It’s difficult to analyse the game beforehand, expecting to win the game because the team is doing well, but the derby is special. In football, it’s like life when you play the derby. I expect good attacking football and for me, football is that. You think about winning the game, putting everything together to win. I expect a good game.”
Mauricio: “It will be exciting. You are both legends, unbelievable players…”
Ossie: “You could play as well!”
Mauricio: “I feel very proud to sit here between you two because our football idea is the same as when you were a player and a manager, the football you love to see and you love to feel. I am so proud. I feel very close to you because we share that philosophy.”
Ricky: “Football is a game, you have to play. Okay, professional football you have to take car about other things, but you play the best you can play, go onto the pitch and play. Sometimes you can do it and play better than the other team, sometimes not. But go and play, and your philosophy is that and I like that.”
Mauricio: “My last sentence before we go to play is always ‘enjoy the game’. That is most important. Feel free to play. We work a lot, it’s true, to prepare but after that, trust in yourself, trust in your team-mate and enjoy football. When you first played football as a child it was always the ball and the game and that emotion. We are prepared to feel that emotion on Sunday.”