You probably heard, but there’s some drama going on over in the red half of North London. After a 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, there are increasingly loud calls for Arsene Wenger to be fired or for him to step down as manager of Arsenal.
And because the press does what it does, naturally Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino was asked about his colleague’s difficulties in a press conference ahead of Spurs’ FA Cup quarterfinal match against Millwall. Do you, Poch was asked, feel at all sorry for Wenger?
“It’s not about me. It’s about the fans, and the club. [Arsene] is my colleague.
“It’s football. I know the business, and I never expect my colleagues to feel sorry for me. If one day I would be in the same position then that is business. To feel sorry or not feel sorry, I think my feelings and my emotions are not important.
“You know, I have full respect for him, I admire him as a manager and [how] for 20 years he [has] managed Arsenal, but only I can only see what is happening at my own club.
“My opinion is not important, my feelings are not important, my emotions are not important. I have a lot to do here to try to care about my club, my fans, my players, and to look after myself.
“We’re always in a very difficult position, because you know to be manager is not an easy task.”
So this is totally a “gotcha” question posed by a reporter looking for a good headline, and in my opinion Poch was very wise to stay the heck out of it.
My sense is that, rivalry aside, Pochettino doesn’t have particularly strong feelings one way or another for Arsene. He probably thinks he’s a perfectly decent colleague, an excellent manager, and a nice guy. Which is fine, and good. There’s no law that says that the manager of Tottenham Hotspur needs to loathe the manager of Arsenal with the force of 1000 suns. That’s what supporters are for.
A more emotionally charged soundbite would’ve made for a better headline, but it doesn’t change the fact that at the end of the day football is football, and Mauricio Pochettino is not a part of Arsenal Football Club.
Smart man, Poch.