Mauricio Pochettino insists Kylian Mbappe is not a difficult player to coach and believes the Paris Saint-Germain and France forward will learn to "manage himself" as he matures.

Pochettino spent 18 months working with Mbappe before leaving the Parc des Princes in July, leading the Parisian giants to the Ligue 1 title and the Coupe de France.  

However, much of Pochettino's time at PSG was marred by reports of rifts between high-profile players, while some claiming the club gave Mbappe excessive influence over their strategy when he rejected a move to Real Madrid to sign a new three-year contract in May.

Asked whether managing Mbappe had been challenging, Pochettino told the BBC: "He's 23 and already won the World Cup, he's an amazing talent. 

"The problem is sometimes you need to manage yourself because we are talking about a top three, top five best player in the world.

"It's not easy for him to manage himself because he's not mature enough, he's still a child. 

"But I think he's doing well. Sometimes people talk too much, but I don't think it's like this."

The prolific Mbappe scored a sublime double in France's 3-0 World Cup round of 16 win over Poland on Sunday and is leading the race for the Golden Boot with five goals.

Mbappe recorded 60 goal contributions in 46 appearances under Pochettino last season (39 goals, 21 assists) – more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues.

 

Harry Kane's lack of goals at the World Cup does not worry his former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, who believes the striker's creative prowess can help England go far in Qatar.

Despite England scoring nine times in three Group B fixtures, Kane is yet to net at the tournament, with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka instead providing the Three Lions' main goal threat from wide positions.

Kane has, however, recorded three assists at the tournament, becoming the first England player to do so at a single World Cup since David Beckham in 2002.

Asked about Kane's form by Sky Sports, Pochettino highlighted the England captain's creative contribution while also backing him to find his shooting boots in the knockout stages. 

"I think Harry can provide good assists and score goals," Pochettino said. "I would rather Kane scores the decisive goals, rather than in a result where England can beat the opponent by five or six. 

"Harry's focus is great, he's one of the best strikers in the world and I'm sure that he's going to score.

"He's capable of everything. In my second conversation with him, I said 'you could play centre-back, full-back, midfielder… out wide.'

"Goalkeeper? No, once, I remember in a Europa League game [for Spurs against Asteras Tripolis in 2014], he was a disaster in goal and made a mistake. The rest of the positions, yes.

"Harry Kane is a player who is so clever, now he reads the game and knows when the game needs him to drop, or when it needs him to be up front. He's a player that can do everything." 

Tuesday's 3-0 win over Wales ensured England topped their World Cup group for the first time since 2006, and Pochettino says no team will relish the prospect of facing the Three Lions.

Asked whether England would fear a potential fixture against holders France or pre-tournament favourites Brazil, he added: "For France, it's no different. 

"Their team can be in trouble if they face England also. England have the quality to be one of the national teams with the possibility to win, I saw a really, really good performance last night. 

"The quality is there. I really believe that, this year, England can fight to try to lift the World Cup."

England will face Senegal for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals on Sunday. The Three Lions are unbeaten in their seven previous meetings with African nations in the competition (W4 D3), beating Cameroon after extra-time in their only previous such game in the knockout stages, in 1990.

Mauricio Pochettino has hinted Kylian Mbappe may need to leave his Paris Saint-Germain "comfort zone" to develop into a Ballon d'Or contender.

World Cup winner Mbappe, who will look to help France defend their crown in Qatar, has repeatedly been linked with a move away from the Parc des Princes to Real Madrid.

The Spanish and European champions appeared set to lure Mbappe to Madrid on a free transfer ahead of the 2022-23 season, only for the forward to sign a bumper three-year extension with PSG in May.

Further uncertainty clouded the 23-year-old's future as fresh reports of discontent emerged in October, though Mbappe assured his commitment remains in the French capital.

Yet, former PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino suggested the ex-Monaco attacker might have to move on to fully realise his world-class potential.

Pochettino told Spanish newspaper El Pais: "He may be a leader because everyone sees him as the best striker in the world, but today the Ballon d'Or has been won by Benzema, who is French like him. The evolution of Mbappe comes from leaving the comfort zone.

"Renewing for PSG is good for the club and its fans. But Mbappe in the future will have to consider that leaving his comfort zone will bring him closer to fighting for the Ballon d'Or."

Mbappe has found the net 19 times in 20 appearances for PSG this term, a tally only bettered by Manchester City's Erling Haaland (23) among players in Europe's top five leagues.

The PSG star became just the second teenager to score in a World Cup final (after Pele in 1958) at his first major international tournament in 2018, though Pochettino believes Mbappe is still "immature".

"Mbappe is younger than [Lionel Messi and Neymar] and still immature," Pochettino said. "But he has won a World Cup. He is an animal, he has great charisma but still needs to find himself.

"Leo and Ney are total players, they are more responsible although in different ways."

Mbappe will hope to fire France to more World Cup glory as Les Bleus start their campaign in the Middle East against Australia in Tuesday's Group D clash.

Mauricio Pochettino acknowledged patience is key for his next managerial opportunity amid previous links to Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Former Paris Saint-Germain coach Pochettino was dismissed from the French capital in July 2022 after failing to deliver Champions League glory with a squad assembled purely for that goal.

Lionel Messi moved to Paris ahead of the 2021-22 season, along with Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Achraf Hakimi, though an abundance of world-class talent crashed out in the last 16 to Madrid.

Pochettino has subsequently been linked to a move to Los Blancos, once Carlo Ancelotti departs, or to United, who preferred Erik ten Hag when the pair were both linked to the Old Trafford role.

When asked by Marca about joining either of those sides in future, the Argentine said: "Soccer is 'timing'. These are the moments for it to coincide and for that marriage to happen. 

"Sometimes it's just a question of time. I don't believe in trains passing only once. I think that sometimes you have to have the necessary patience and you have to know how to wait."

 

The former Southampton and Tottenham boss has previously expressed a subtle interest in managing England should Gareth Southgate leave after the World Cup in Qatar, which starts on Sunday.

Pochettino has a wealth of experience, despite only winning two major trophies – Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France with PSG – though he believes "timing" is everything in football.

"The 'timing' is handled by football, it is true that my name has always been associated with big clubs," he added.

"I have a lot of respect for professionals and it's hard for me to sell myself, that's work for you."

Time away from managing has afforded room for reflection from Pochettino, though he insists he would never re-think his previous decision-making with the likes of PSG and Tottenham.

"It is a good stage to capitalise on all those experiences and have a vision from another place," he continued.

"We always try to have external visions, from the analysis, above all so as not to take things personally and that this external vision has a context. 

"This analysis means that now time does not make us rethink decision-making, it helps us to be better."

Mauricio Pochettino believes Lionel Messi needs to win the World Cup with Argentina to "confirm" his status as the best player in the world.

Messi has won 11 league titles and four Champions League trophies over an illustrious club career.

However, international success has largely eluded Messi, having lost to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and finishing as Copa America runner-up three times.

Though Messi finally did win the Copa America in 2021, Pochettino feels the 35-year-old needs to win international football's premier prize to certify him as the greatest player in the world.

"Like [Diego] Maradona or Pele, you need to confirm with the trophy," Pochettino told The Athletic. "When you lift the trophy, it's like, 'okay, he is the best in the world.'

"It is the only thing missing for Messi, to lift the World Cup, and I hope in Qatar that it happens.

"Because I am Argentinian, and of course my desire is for Argentina to win the World Cup, and to confirm Messi is one of the best, in the same place as Maradona and Pele."

Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona in 2021, giving Pochettino an opportunity to watch him up close as his head coach.

It also allowed Pochettino to assess Messi against another Argentina great, Maradona, who Pochettino played with for a brief spell at Newell's Old Boys.

Asked to compare Messi and Maradona, Pochettino explained: "Both different, but both great. I don’t want to compare, because when you compare, you are trying to show one better than the other.

"I think for me, Messi, [whether] winning or not winning the World Cup, for me needs to be on the same level as Pele and Maradona. With different energy, different style, different personalities. But both great."

Pochettino's spell as PSG head coach lasted just 18 months, but during that period he also got to observe Neymar, who is hoping for World Cup success in Qatar with Brazil.

Pochettino rates Neymar as one of the best ever, saying: "The way he doesn’t feel the pressure, he is an amazing player. Very charismatic, with an amazing energy.

"We can say Neymar is one of the best players in the history of football. Maybe he didn’t achieve all that Messi achieved, or Cristiano [Ronaldo]. But the quality is in the same level."

Mauricio Pochettino has hinted he would be "open" to succeeding Gareth Southgate as England manager if he were to leave the role after the World Cup.

Southgate led England to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 before overseeing a run to the Euro 2020 final last year, with his side ultimately losing to Italy in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Wembley Stadium.

However, Southgate has faced severe scrutiny following England's dismal Nations League campaign earlier this year, and he was jeered by his own supporters after a defeat in Italy in September.

During his time with Tottenham, Pochettino was credited with playing a key role in the development of several England internationals, including captain Harry Kane and defender Eric Dier. 

The Argentine has also spent the majority of his coaching career in England, enjoying almost nine years at Southampton and Spurs combined, and he has refused to rule out leading the Three Lions.

"Of course, my relationship with England has always been very good," Pochettino told the Athletic.

 "We have a very good relationship with the academies, trying to develop young players for the national team. I feel so comfortable here. You never know what happens. I am open to everything."

Asked about England's qualities ahead of the World Cup, he added: "Their mentality, they are so brave, they are so offensive, they go to provoke the opponent and try to dominate.

"They don't care about the team that is in front of them. They try to deliver their job. I like how they approach the game, and they have very good players."

England begin their Group B campaign against Iran on Monday. The Three Lions have won their opening match at six different World Cups, though their last two such victories have come by a single goal (2006 v Paraguay and 2018 v Tunisia). 

Mauricio Pochettino believes he offered Paris Saint-Germain stability but the challenge proved a step too far after having to appease "too much greatness" within his squad.

PSG brought in Lionel Messi in August 2021, along with Achraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos, to join forces with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the French capital.

A plethora of world-class talent was expected to help Pochettino's side to European glory, though they instead crashed out of the 2021-22 Champions League after a dramatic last-16 clash with eventual winners Real Madrid.

Pochettino and PSG subsequently parted ways in July 2022, with Christophe Galtier his replacement, and the Argentine has said balancing an abundance of superstar footballers was the greatest difficulty.

"You need to adapt constantly because there was too much greatness," Pochettino told Spanish outlet Relevo.

"For Barcelona to have Messi or for Madrid to count on Cristiano [Ronaldo] is a blessing. But when you put too many players on the pitch who all need their place and to be number one, there can be confusion.

"In the end, when you play, it's 11 players with only one ball. There was a penalty and who takes it? It's not even the manager's decision.

"Our ability [Pochettino and his coaching staff's] was that of being people who kept the consensus, who were flexible to give each person what they needed.

"The thing is each one needed something different with their circumstances, depending on how they were doing in sporting terms, in family terms, and so on.

"We gave cause for there to be certain stability at PSG this year and for the same pieces to be maintained."

PSG's recruitment has come under scrutiny in recent years, with their desire to assemble world football's biggest names coming at the detriment of both player happiness and defensive stability.

Mbappe's time at PSG with Pochettino was filled with transfer speculation, the forward signing a bumper three-year extension after it appeared increasingly likely he would wait for a move to Madrid.

Former Tottenham boss Pochettino suggested he did not even know Mbappe was going to sign fresh terms just hours before PSG announced the news.

"They asked me in a news conference if I saw myself with Mbappe at PSG and I said yes because he had a year left on his contract," he added.

"[Carlo] Ancelotti [once] said that thing about how managers can't say the truth.

"Kylian was always calm, he always told me that he hadn't taken a decision. I knew what everyone [else] knew. He told me: 'Mister, I haven't taken the decision.' I insisted: 'But tell me if you've signed, it can stay a secret.' 'Mister, I haven't signed anything,' he replied. 'Are you going to stay?' 'I don't know.' 'Are you going to leave?' 'I don't know.'

"And like that until the end. I don't know what happened afterwards, I only found out a few hours before the announcement was made at the final match [of the season]."

Mauricio Pochettino wants his next coaching job to be with a club capable of winning the Champions League after his experience of working with Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain.

Pochettino departed PSG in July, having won the Ligue 1 title last season having failed to recover their title bid the previous year.

The former Tottenham boss paid the price for another lacklustre campaign in Europe, however, with his star-studded squad eliminated by Real Madrid across a dramatic last-16 encounter.

Pochettino has been out of work since despite offers, and he has now outlined exactly what he is looking for in a new project.

"Talking about projects in football is very difficult," he reflected. "There are [a] few lucky ones who can be involved in a project in the medium or long term.

"[But] there is more and more demand and less patience in the clubs. The main objective is to win and at the same time create a structure that gives you a livelihood to maintain it.

"After being at a club with Mbappe, Messi, Neymar, it is normal that I would seek to maintain that level. A club that gives the chance to aim for the biggest, like winning the Champions League [would be ideal]."

On countryman Messi, who is likely to have his final shot at winning a World Cup with Argentina at Qatar 2022 later this month, Pochettino feels his narrative helps La Albiceleste sit among the favourites.

"You always have to count on Argentina," he added."[But there is also] Brazil, [and] I would include England, France, Spain and Germany.

"Argentina is more favoured than four years ago, especially having won the Copa America. When you have Messi, and everyone understands they have to play for him, dreams can come true."

Success for Messi would see him follow Diego Maradona – another of the sport's all-time greats – in leading Argentina to glory.

Pochettino would not be drawn into any discussion around how the two compare as players, as he added: "For me, that debate never existed.

"They are the best in their respective contexts. How do we measure it?

"According to results? If he won the World Cup? Ballon d'Or? Both are in the same place, and it is in the first position."

Chelsea have reportedly already conducted a medical for RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku with the aim of signing him at the end of this season.

It has long been thought Nkunku's time at Leipzig was coming to an end, but the Bundesliga club retained his services in the most recent transfer window, potentially setting him up for a 2023 departure.

Nkunku is off to a terrific start to the Bundesliga season, netting four goals from seven games, and while the interest in him is expected to be wide-ranging, Chelsea have used their relationship with Leipzig in an effort to jump to the front of the queue.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA COMPLETE SECRET NKUNKU MEDICAL, PREPARE TO TRIGGER RELEASE CLAUSE

According to Bild, Nkunku has a release clause in his contract set at €60million, and Chelsea are prepared to trigger it at the conclusion of this campaign.

Chelsea and Leipzig have done plenty of business together previously, including sales of Timo Werner in either direction and advanced negotiations around young centre-back Josko Gvardiol. It appears Nkunku was also discussed at length, and the German club were willing to let Chelsea take a closer look at the in-demand attacker ahead of any official bids being made.

With Gvardiol also remaining a potential target for new Chelsea coach Graham Potter – with his price tag set at a huge €90m – this could turn into one of the most expensive package deals ever.

ROUND-UP

– According to the Daily Star, Erling Haaland weighed up a potential move to Liverpool before eventually choosing Manchester City, but he categorically ruled out Manchester United.

– Football Insider is reporting Aston Villa are considering Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery for their next manager if Steven Gerrard is fired.

– Football Insider also claims Leicester City's James Maddison is "very keen" on a move to Tottenham after reports they are keeping tabs on the 25-year-old midfielder.

Chelsea will give Christian Pulisic a chance to prove his value before making a decision on his future, per 90min.

– Sport is reporting Juventus are planning a January move for Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba.

Big-spending French club Nice have struggled to start the new Ligue 1 season, with only eight points from eight games.

Ambitious Nice are sitting 13th in the table, leading to pressure on head coach Lucien Favre.

The Ligue 1 outfit finished fifth last term and have recently signed Aaron Ramsey, Ross Barkley, Alexis Beka Beka and Kasper Schmeichel.

TOP STORY – NICE KEEN ON PARKER WITH POCHETTINO NOT INTERESTED

Nice are interested in a surprise move for ex-Fulham and Bournemouth boss Scott Parker, claims Foot Mercato.

Favre is under pressure, with ex-Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino reportedly their first choice to replace him.

The Evening Standard claims Pochettino is not interested in the Nice role and instead will wait for a head coaching position with a top club in England, Spain or Italy. 

ROUND-UP

– 90min reports Manchester United will offer fresh deals to Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot. The pair's contracts are both due to expire in mid-2023, albeit with the option of one-year extensions, but United want to lock them down beyond that.

– Erik ten Hag will decide on Donny van de Beek's future at United in October, according to the Manchester Evening News. The Dutchman has only managed three appearances this term.

– Fabrizio Romano reports Tottenham target Kim Min-Jae has a release clause in his Napoli contract after joining the Italian club from Fenerbahce in July, but it cannot be triggered in January. Napoli are happy with the centre-back's impact and are not interested in letting him go.

Chelsea target Anthony Gordon is in the midst of contract talks with Everton that are "progressing well", claims inews. Gordon is set for a substantial pay rise.

Leicester City are set to offer manager Brendan Rodgers more time to turn around the side's poor start to the new season, although the reception of fans towards him at their next home game will be a factor for key decision makers, reports The Athletic.

Arsenal teenager Ethan Nwaneri has captured the imaginations of England's top clubs after becoming the youngest player in Premier League history, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool all reportedly interested.

Nwaneri broke the record when he came on as a substitute in stoppage time of Arsenal's 3-0 win against Brentford on Sunday, becoming the first 15-year-old to appear in the competition.

His appearance – and subsequent praise from manager Mikel Arteta – did not go unnoticed, and it seems he is set to become one of English football's most talked-about youngsters.

TOP STORY – 15-YEAR-OLD NWANERI CATCHES THE EYE OF CITY, UNITED AND LIVERPOOL

With Nwaneri still classified as a schoolboy and not set to receive a scholarship with Arsenal until he turns 16 in March, The Times says he is being tracked by United, City and Liverpool.

The report suggests the interest being shown towards him by the country's most decorated clubs may have had some bearing on Arsenal's decision to hand him his debut, although Arteta was adamant it was only due to injuries limiting his bench options.

Whether he remains with the first-team set-up when healthy reinforcements return is unknown, and Arteta's messages were mixed. 

As well as saying "we need to create as many scenarios as possible for him to put his talent to the service of the team", Arteta also added Nwaneri should not expect his meteoric rise to continue at the same pace, adding: "After this, maybe he needs three [steps] backwards to go another forward."

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Juventus officials will meet on Friday to discuss the future of Massimiliano Allegri, with the club sitting eighth in the Serie A table with two wins from seven matches.

– According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Chelsea target Rafael Leao would like to remain with Milan and is working on a contract extension. 

– Marseille loanee Arkadiusz Milik is impressing during his stint with Juventus, who are interested in activating a €7million buy option in his loan agreement, according to Calciomercato.

Nice are hoping to hire Mauricio Pochettino to replace coach Lucien Favre after two wins from their first eight games, per ESPN, although The Telegraph claims Pochettino has no interest in the role.

Even accounting for Chelsea's shoddy start to the Champions League, few would have expected Thomas Tuchel to be out of a job by Wednesday.

The Blues started their European campaign with a lacklustre 1-0 setback at Dinamo Zagreb, a result that follows an underwhelming trend to start the season.

With three wins, two losses and one draw from six games, the Blues sit sixth in the infant Premier League table.

Still, most would have expected Tuchel – who has won the Champions League and Club World Cup with Chelsea – to be afforded more time to bed in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly following a big-spending transfer window under the club's new owners led by Todd Boehly.

But, alas, he has not, and for the first time Chelsea are after a new boss under their new regime. We have taken a look at the most likely candidates to replace Tuchel at Stamford Bridge.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO

The last time Chelsea were looking for a successor for a sacked manager, they turned to a former Paris Saint-Germain boss in Tuchel to replace club legend Frank Lampard. Might history repeat itself here? Certainly Pochettino would be attainable after the Argentine departed the Parc des Princes in July despite winning the Ligue 1 title. Pochettino also brings extensive knowledge of the Premier League having managed Southampton before joining Tottenham in May 2014. Pochettino failed to deliver major silverware but did lead the club to the 2019 Champions League final and secured four straight top-four finishes.

GRAHAM POTTER

A name that has cropped up early in the bookmakers' odds is Brighton and Hove Albion boss Potter, a man who has earned plenty of admirers due to the attractive brand of football employed by his Seagulls side. Having coached Swedish side Ostersund for seven years, Potter joined Swansea City in 2018 and a year later made the move to the Amex Stadium. After finishing 15th and 16th in his first two top-flight seasons, Brighton placed ninth last term and Potter has long been tipped for bigger things, with his case boosted by a fantastic start to the 2022-23 season.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE

Another boss out of work, though reports suggest Zidane remains keen to take on the France job should Didier Deschamps leave after Qatar 2022. One of the greatest players of all time, Zidane has also enjoyed success in the dugout at Real Madrid. Over two spells as coach at the Santiago Bernabeu, Zidane won three Champions League titles (all in a row from 2016 to 2018), two LaLiga medals, and the Club World Cup twice among a plethora of honours. He also showed his ability to manage big egos at the Santiago Bernabeu, a trait that may appeal to Boehly.

BRENDAN RODGERS

A move that would probably represent an outside bet given Leicester City's shoddy start to the season that sees them winless after six matches and rooted to the bottom of the table, but there is context behind that – including the sale of Fofana to Chelsea. Rodgers previously managed Liverpool and went agonisingly close to winning the title in the 2013-14 season – eventually finishing runners-up to Manchester City. After an impressive spell with Celtic, Rodgers returned to English football with Leicester and defeated Chelsea in the 2020-21 FA Cup final. Moreover, Rodgers is a familiar face at Stamford Bridge having managed the club's reserve side from 2006-2008.

DIEGO SIMEONE

Simeone is an undoubted legend at Atletico Madrid, where he has managed to consistently compete against heavyweight rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona in LaLiga for over a decade. A two-time league winner, to go with medals in the Europa League, Copa del Rey and Supercopa a Espana, Simeone knows how to win trophies – even though two runs to the final of the Champions League both ended in defeat to Real Madrid. But having finished third and 15 points off the top last term, and started this season in patchy form (two wins, a draw and a defeat from four games), perhaps Simeone may finally be swayed by the prospect of pastures new.

Jose Mourinho's words of advice to Dele Alli have been well publicised ever since the release of the Tottenham-focused All Or Nothing documentary series in 2020.

"I am 56 now and yesterday I was 20. Time flies. One day I think you will regret it if you don't reach what you can reach," the former Spurs boss told Alli, who for the first time in his rough career was, at the start of the 2019-20 season, enduring a rough patch of form.

"I am not expecting you to be the man of the match every game. I am not expecting you to score goals every game. I want just to tell you that you will regret it. You should demand more from yourself."

Less than 18 months after the documentary aired, Alli's Tottenham spell was over, moving to Everton on what was initially a free transfer at the age of 25.

Frank Lampard was confident he could reinvigorate the midfielder, whose ability to find space in the area had often drawn comparisons to the Chelsea great. Yet with Everton fighting to survive, questions over the sensibility of the transfer were raised.

Now, his stint at Goodison Park is coming to an end, at least for the season. Alli has joined Turkish club Besiktas on loan, and while a hero's welcome in Istanbul will surely have been a boost to his confidence, it is hard not to look back at Mourinho's words and think where did it all go wrong for one of England's brightest prospects?

Superstar in the making

Alli's rise was nothing short of sensational. Having signed from MK Dons, Alli made his Premier League bow for Spurs against Manchester United in August 2015. He went on to score 10 top-flight goals and provide nine assists in a remarkable breakout campaign.

His best season followed in 2016-17, when he scored 22 goals in 50 appearances across all competitions, averaging a goal every 182 minutes. He followed that up with 29 direct goal involvements (14 goals, 15 assists) in the 2017-18 campaign, and was a key player for Gareth Southgate as England went on to reach the World Cup semi-finals at Russia 2018. It is hard to see him being involved in Qatar this time around.

Given a free role behind Harry Kane in Mauricio Pochettino's side, Eriksen was able to thrive, running beyond the striker to latch onto pinpoint Christian Eriksen deliveries, or able to find pockets of space on the edge of the box to show his prowess with shots from range. He truly looked to have it all.

Hard times in north London

Spurs reached the Champions League final in 2019, but it would be fair to say even by that stage, Alli's impact had started to wane. Injuries did not help, but he managed only eight direct goal contributions in the Premier League that season and failed to score in Europe.

Pochettino's tenure came to an end in November 2019. Alli had scored twice in the league prior to Pochettino's dismissal, but had been particularly close to his coach (indeed, when Alli left Spurs, he paid tribute to the impact the Argentine had on his career).

Mourinho arrived and, while some hard truths might have been given behind the scenes, Alli looked sharp in the Portuguese's first weeks at the club. But the promising signs did not last, and prior to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown of March 2020, he was by no means a guaranteed starter.

Alli finished the elongated Premier League campaign with eight goals in 25 appearances, but in Mourinho's first full season in charge he was relegated to a benchwarmer, making just two top-tier starts before the former Manchester United and Chelsea manager was sacked in April 2021. 

Nuno Espirito Santo attempted to play Alli deep in midfield in his short-lived Spurs spell, and his last goal for the club did come under the ex-Wolves boss, from the spot in a 1-0 win at Molineux. Yet Antonio Conte started him just twice in the competition, and the writing was on the wall when he was left out of Tottenham's squad altogether for a meeting with Chelsea in January.

Goodison to Istanbul

Alli and Lampard both spoke glowingly of the transfer to Everton, sealed on the last day of the January window.

Those words did not translate into minutes for Alli, though. He came on for his Everton debut in a 3-1 loss to Newcastle United in February, and despite a promising cameo in a 3-0 defeat of Leeds United, time on the pitch was even tougher to come by as the Toffees slipped further into the relegation dogfight.

While Alli came on to play a key role in a 1-1 draw with Leicester City, it did seem as though whatever plan Lampard had for the midfielder had been cast to one side, but a game-changing performance in Everton's survival-clinching comeback win over Crystal Palace in May suggested there could be a place for him at Goodison this season, especially following Richarlison's sale to Spurs.

Even without a recognised striker fit to feature from the off in matches against Chelsea and Aston Villa, though, Lampard went with Gordon – himself set for a move to London – up front over Alli, who had deputised in an attacking role in pre-season.

Last week, reports of Besiktas' interest were confirmed by Lampard, and once again the writing was on the wall, especially with Everton wary that if Alli played 20 times (he finishes with 13 appearances, no goals or assists and only seven chances created), they would have to fork out £10million to Tottenham.

Now, it is in Turkey that Alli will attempt to revive a career that once promised so much. He joins Istanbul on loan with an option for the Istanbul club to buy. It is hard not to think he won't have Mourinho's comments running around his head.

Mauricio Pochettino does not believe Kylian Mbappe had a big say in his sacking and maintains he did a good job at Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG parted company with the Argentine coach in July, just 18 months after appointing him as head coach, naming Christophe Galtier as his replacement.

The former Tottenham boss won the Ligue 1 title last season, the Coupe de France in 2021 and the Trophee des Champions during his short reign.

Pochettino was unable to mastermind a first Champions League triumph for the Parisian giants, though, as they were knocked out by Real Madrid after squandering a two-goal lead in the last-16 stage.

There has been talk of Mbappe perhaps having increased power at PSG after he snubbed Madrid to sign a new contract, but Pochettino does not think the France forward pushed for him to be fired.

Pochettino said in a long interview with Infobae: "What I think is that PSG have done everything possible to retain Kylian and I also agree with that.

"He is one of the best players in world football today and I think that PSG, having all the resources to do it, have convinced him to stay.

"But I don't think Kylian is the one who designed the new project either. Those who rule, in this case the president [Nasser Al-Khelaifi], are those who would have thought that the most convenient thing was a new project in the club."

 

Pochettino feels there is too great an obsession with winning the Champions League at PSG, with anything but lifting the trophy deemed to be a failure.

"The only thing that has changed a bit now [from when he played for PSG] is the expectation, which is the Champions League, the Champions League and the Champions League," he said.

"The obsession is the Champions League and everything that is not winning the Champions League is synonymous with failure, but not for us. I believe that.

"We have done a job in which we have been honest, we have worked as hard as we could, and we had that misfortune in the last minutes against Madrid.

"We reached a semi-final last year when Mbappe was injured in the first leg against Manchester City, and with him in Manchester we could have reached the final after knocking out Barcelona and Bayern Munich. In other words, I think we have done a good job, perhaps not recognised externally because the expectation was to win the Champions League."

Mauricio Pochettino expressed his pride at ending his Paris Saint-Germain tenure as a Ligue 1 champion after his departure was confirmed.

PSG confirmed Pochettino's long-expected exit on Tuesday, appointing former Lille and Nice coach Christophe Galtier as his replacement on a two-year contract.

Despite PSG winning their 10th Ligue 1 title in dominant fashion last season, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Pochettino since a spectacular collapse in a 3-2 aggregate Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in March.

That represented PSG's fourth last-16 Champions League elimination in the last six seasons, while the former Tottenham boss also missed out on the Ligue 1 title to Lille – coached by Galtier – in his first half-season in France.

Since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) acquired the club in 2011, meanwhile, only Carlo Ancelotti (63.6) has recorded a lower win percentage as PSG boss than Pochettino (65.5).

But writing on Instagram, Pochettino chose to focus on his successes and expressed his gratitude at being given the chance to lead the club, for whom he made 95 appearances as a player.

"I want to wish everyone at PSG the very best for the future – the owners, the board, the players, all the staff and the supporters," Pochettino wrote.

"To Nasser [Al-Khelaifi, PSG president] – I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of the PSG family again.

"We enjoyed some amazing moments and big wins all together and, as a coaching staff, with every experience we always take learnings to advance our evolution for the future.

"We are proud to finish as league champions at a club that has meant so much to me and my family, from my time here as a player and a captain, and now as a coach."

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