Moody Pochettino gave Spurs and Levy the perfect dress rehearsal for Mourinho

first_imgJose Mourinho gives first interview as head coach at Tottenham So I spent the next hour on the touchline in the searing sun (no place for a ginger) as he put his players through their paces.4 Jose Mourinho was today unveiled as the new Tottenham Hotspur managerCredit: Getty – ContributorIt was then I started to think I’d been hasty in condemning him.It is important to remember, though, Poch was not an instant success at Tottenham.After winning his first four matches he then failed to win any of the next four and his Spurs side were losing 1-0 at home to Nottingham Forest in a Carabao Cup tie when he started being jeered by his own fans.Poch then sent on Ryan Mason, who levelled with a stunner before the hosts went on to win 3-1.The new manager was making his mark all over the North London club, as he persuaded all of their stars and staff, to follow his personable lead by greeting every colleague in the morning with a handshake and “good morning”.It was clearly having the desired effect on the pitch too as Tottenham finished fifth that first season, followed by third, second, third and fourth.But Pochettino’s family never forgot his tough start and Mason’s salvo – it is the reason the midfielder was Poch family’s fave player before he later left for Hull.4The Argie was accused of getting a soft ride from the media, but that is because he always provided good copy at his weekly pre-match Press conferences at their Hotspur Way training ground.But it was on pre-season trips when he really took reporters into his confidence.I was fortunate enough to be in the Melbourne hotel when his honest off-the-record reaction to his team being pipped by Leicester for the 2016 Premier League title caused most of the fellow diners to spill their prawn cocktails.He then gave us an insight into his methodical coaching methods.Did you know he has recorded every single one of the training sessions he has ever taken and still keeps them all on memory sticks in a fleet of briefcases?But as Pochettino’s reputation and status in the game started to grow so did his ego.LATEST TOTTENHAM NEWSHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’KAN’T HAVE THATVictor Osimhen keen on Spurs move but only if they sell Kane this summerYOU KAN DO ITKlinsmann quit Spurs to win trophies but says Kane’s better off stayingTURBULENT PAIRINGDrogba and Mido had mid-flight brawl after stewardess prank went wrongGossipSPURRED ONTottenham table contract offer for Bayern Munich’s teenage starlet Taylor BoothExclusivePASS THE TESTEngland’s NRL-based stars urge bosses to make room for a Test this yearAnd in the last year-and-a-half of his tenure at Tottenham his dealings with the media became as bizarre as box-office.His stories about cows by railway lines led us to believe he was starting to go off the rails.His sacking was inevitable, only the timing was a surprise. DANIEL LEVY should find no trouble handling Jose Mourinho — after all he has had plenty of practice.The Tottenham chairman may never have managed Jose before but previous Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino spent the last 18 months trying to act like the man who has replaced him.4 Pochettino has never made a secret of his admiration for The Special OneCredit: AP:Associated PressPoch, axed on Tuesday, had always hailed the Portuguese as an idol.It seemed the more famous the Argie got at Tottenham the more he tried to emulate Mourinho’s dark arts.From outlandish statements, bizarre behaviour and trying to manipulate the media — to blaming everyone else for every wrongdoing while continually contradicting himself and somehow contriving to turn the agenda on himself.Now Levy has swapped Mini-Mo for the real deal that he hopes will deliver at Spurs with more style — and more silverware.It is unfortunate for Pochettino because he certainly did not arrive at Tottenham with the ego he left with. In fact, when desperate Levy snapped him up from Southampton in May 2014 he was a virtual unknown who could not even speak English.I was in the south of France covering Gareth Southgate’s England Under-21s at the prestigious Toulon Tournament, when the news of the appointment began to surface.Southgate invited another reporter and myself to stay with his squad and as the rumours of Poch quitting St Mary’s for Spurs increased.Saints starlet James Ward-Prowse, whose room was just a few doors down from mine, used to badger me for updates.4The tears in eyes when I informed him his gaffer had left indicated Pochettino was something special — I foolishly chose not to acknowledge it.I wrote a damning piece condemning the appointment, claiming I remembered the days Spurs used to appoint internationally recognised managers, not some Argie we had never heard of.I sneered it summed up how far one of England’s great clubs had fallen by insisting the sum of their ambitions was to now be Southampton.I felt quite proud of myself as I was the only Brit newspaper journalist to jet off to Seattle for the first stage of Tottenham’s tour of the US.After arriving at the Seattle Seahawks stadium for the first friendly, I covered the first ever press conference Pochettino conducted in English without the aid of an interpreter, who had earned him such ridicule at Southampton.When it was finished Tottenham’s press guru Simon Felstein introduced me to the new manager who reminded me of my damning article against him. #awks.He told me: “I will prove you and everyone else wrong.”Then as I left to watch his first open training session from the press deck, Pochettino grabbed me and told me if I was going to criticise him I should at least see at close quarters how he worked.last_img read more

Danny Rose criticises Mourinho for not giving him same chance as Spurs rivals

first_imgDANNY ROSE believes he had no choice but to leave Tottenham after Jose Mourinho shunned him from his first-team plans.The England left-back sealed a January loan move to Newcastle after falling out of favour under the Portuguese.2 Danny Rose sealed a January loan move to NewcastleCredit: Rex FeaturesRose was limited to just five appearances under the gaffer following his appointment on November 20.And he believes he felt singled out by the manager and knew his time was up at the club.Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “I do feel I wasn’t given as much of a chance as everybody else in the backline. I did want to play for him.”I knew after a month [of Mourinho joining] I was never going to play. It was difficult going out to train knowing I wasn’t going to play.”It’s not worked out, but full respect to him and what he’s doing at the club. He took over with the club 12 points adrift of Chelsea [now in fourth place] and now it’s four.”Rose made his Toon debut in an 11-minute cameo against Norwich last week and hopes to become a regular in Steve Bruce’s side.And he aims to be playing week-in-week-out to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 plans.He added: “I’ve been given a chance to play week in and week out.MAKE YOUR DEBUT Bet £5 get £20 in free bets for new customers at Ladbrokesmost read in footballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’ExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidNEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticREF RELEASEDChampions League ref Vincic released by cops after arrest in prostitution raidKEANE DEALEx Man United youth ace David Jones says Roy Keane negotiated a contract for himREF RAIDChampions League ref Vincic ‘arrested in raid into drugs and prostitution ring’NICE RONCristiano Ronaldo goes on family bike ride with partner Georgina Rodriguez & kids”I want to play football again – with the Euros in the summer, I want to put myself in window.”If I go to Newcastle and do well they may think that’s what’s expected of me.”But if I don’t do well then they might think Tottenham were right to let me go. I have a lot riding on this, but I’m confident in my ability and I know I will do well.”2 Jose Mourinho was happy to see the back of RoseCredit: Rex FeaturesHarry Kane shares training video and insists he is ‘making gains’ after injury in huge boost to Tottenham and Englandlast_img read more

Spurs could have signed £80million-rated Villa skipper Grealish for just £6m

first_imgDANIEL LEVY will be hoping his determination to drive a hard bargain does not come back to haunt him at Villa Park this afternoon.Tottenham chairman Levy  watches his club’s  Premier League clash against Aston Villa knowing he could have signed the hosts’ £80MILLION skipper Jack Grealish for £6M just 18 months ago.3 Tottenham could have bought Villa skipper Jack Grealish for just £6mCredit: Getty Images – GettyVilla, then cash strapped and in the Championship, were willing to sell their star man for that meagre price as they desperately needed the money.Club chiefs were in a race against time to pay off  debt and save Villa from the prospect of going into administration — or even worse. It was July  2018 and Levy and  the squad were literally at the airport waiting to head off to Los Angeles for a pre-season tour.But the Spurs supremo believed he could get Grealish for £5m, or even £4m, so he decided to make Villa sweat and boarded the plane.3 Grealish (pictured to the left) is now reported to be valued at £80millionCredit: Getty Images – GettyIt turned out to be a  big mistake because by the time he landed in LA 11 hours later, Villa  had been bought by billionaires Nassef  Sawiris and Wes Edens.And that meant they were no longer skint and in desperate need of cash . . . so their asking price for Grealish was up to £40m.Spurs considered lining up another bid of £20m, but Levy knew it would be rejected so they pulled out of the race to sign the former England Under-21 star.3Grealish was gutted as he had set his heart on a switch to the North London club.But he managed to put that disappointment behind him as he  led his boyhood idols Villa back into the Premier League via the play-offs last season.Grealish, 24, has kicked on again this term and his outstanding displays have caught the eyes of Europe’s top  clubs — including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United.The Red Devils are believed to be lining up an £80m summer swoop for the playmaker.Most read in footballFOUR-TUNE TELLERSRugby league working on four potential restart dates as finals may switchIT’S AL GOODTottenham star Alderweireld buys iPads and laptops to help coronavirus victimsASHES FLICKEREngland’s Ashes series against Australia not cancelled yet despite concerns’MENTALITY MISTAKES’Jose blames Wolves defeat on mistakes and demands Spurs be ‘ruthless’NDOM-BELLYSpurs fans demand trophy after pancake world record is set at Tottenham StadiumGossipSPURS SAY ALTAYTottenham ‘to negotiate £20m transfer for Fenerbahce goalkeeper Bayindir’MIXED EMOTIONSJose delighted with Bergwijn’s Spurs debut but fumes over Sterling tackleMAKE YOUR DEBUT Bet £5 get £20 in free bets for new customers at LadbrokesLevy — widely regarded as one of the toughest negotiators in football — must be kicking himself.While Grealish, must have no regrets about it now the way his career has panned out.But you cannot help but wonder how differently things could have turned out for all parties, had Spurs snapped up Grealish for that bargain fee when they had the chance.last_img read more

Dier dodges police rap for confronting Spurs fan in stands but still faces ban

first_imgERIC DIER has escaped any criminal action for climbing up the stands to confront a fan.Police concluded their probe into the behaviour of the Tottenham and England star and decided no action will be taken.2 Spurs star Eric Dier astonished onlookers by climbing up the stand to challenge a fan2 The versatile Tottenham and England midfielder was caught up in an incident involving his brother, leftCredit: TwitterBut a month after losing his rag at the end of the FA Cup defeat to Norwich, Dier is still waiting to see if he will be hit with a playing ban.The Spurs star flipped when he saw his brother confronted by an irate fan seconds after the shootout exit to the Canaries on March 4.Dier, 26, clambered over several rows of seats towards the supporter and had to be held back by fans and stewards.FOOTAGE REVIEWEDPolice were forced to launch an investigation to see if he had committed any criminal act, but after reviewing footage and statements they have decided there is no case.The Met said: “The investigation concluded with no further action.”That will come as a welcome boost to Spurs and Dier – but the FA could yet take action.most read in footballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’ExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidNEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticWembley bosses were waiting for the police inquiry to finish before starting disciplinary proceedings.Dier revealed the coronavirus lockdown has also seen him take up gardening.He said: “We’re using wood to make the beds for vegetables, fruit, herbs as well — I’d prefer to be playing football, but it has been fun.”last_img read more

Ponga overlooked for Cowboys’ final trial

first_imgGreen named an 18-man squad to travel to Sydney with the same backline that was present for most of 2016, including Kyle Feldt, Antonio Winterstein, Justin O’Neill and Kane Linnett to go with incumbent halves Michael Morgan and Johnathan Thurston.Handed his NRL debut in the pressure-cooker of an elimination final against the Brisbane Broncos in front of a sold-out home crowd last September, Ponga delivered an electrifying performance that gave Newcastle the confidence to sign him to a multi-million dollar deal starting in 2018.The 18-year-old further emphasised his immense talent with a sparkling debut at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines a fortnight ago but it appears as though Green is unwilling to squeeze him into the 17 for the season opener against the Raiders.Green knows Friday’s trial will be the last opportunity for the Cowboys to work on fine-tuning their attack after a low-scoring game against the Roosters in Mackay last Saturday. “What I’m most looking forward to out of this trial is probably just a few combinations, just getting those a little bit sharper, especially with the new guys coming into the team,” Green said.New recruit Ben Hampton will fill the utility role and Green wants the former Storm player ready to go. “Ben Hampton in that utility role… we want him to feel comfortable in the team,” Green said. The match will also be the last chance for forwards Sam Hoare, Patrick Kaufusi and Coen Hess to prove they are ready to go in Round 1. Asiata seems likely to retain his bench position from 2016, with Scott Bolton moving into a starting spot alongside co-captain Matt Scott in the front row.That leaves three players fighting it out for only two positions on the bench in Round 1. Hess played eight NRL games in 2016 and Kaufusi 12 whilst Hoare missed all of last season with a knee injury after playing 14 games across the previous two seasons.Friday night’s hit-out may go some way to solving Green’s headache but the decision is far from final. “Out of the young guys I think they all actually stood up. Everyone played well, the areas that I wanted to see those guys be good in they were,” he said of their performances against the Roosters.The trial match against the Tigers kicks off at 7pm AEDT and is the last for the Cowboys before they open their campaign against the Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday, March 4.last_img read more

Lawton re-signs with Titans

first_imgTitans coach Neil Henry said he was happy to have Lawton remain at the club.”It’s great to be able to re-sign a local product who loves it here on the Gold Coast,” Henry said. “He has proved himself to be a good utility, playing a number of positions since debuting.”He has put in a lot of hard work and has been part of the system here at the Titans for a long time. He has had a tough run with injury but we’re glad that he has committed to the club for the next three years.” Photo by: Charles Knight/ NRL Photos.Gold Coast Titans utility Karl Lawton.last_img read more

Clinical Crusaders crush Highlanders

first_imgChasing their eighth title and first since 2008, the Crusaders will remain in Christchurch next week to meet either the Stormers or the Chiefs who play later on Saturday in Cape Town.RNZI reports driving rain and wind greeted both teams at a sodden AMI Stadium, but the conditions played into the hands of the home side’s dominant pack while dampening the Highlanders’ attacking firepower.Front-rowers Joe Moody and Codie Taylor rumbled over for tries to drive the Crusaders to a 17-0 lead at halftime that the Highlanders were unable to budge in the second half.”It wouldn’t have been the prettiest to watch but both sides just got on with it and didn’t complain,” a shivering Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock said pitchside.”The weather was great for us and we really embraced it, we knew if we could be clean on the penalty count we would give ourselves a great opportunity.”With severe flooding and three South Island regions under a state of emergency, the Highlanders’ preparations were thrown into disarray by the weather, their flight to Christchurch cancelled on Friday and their arrival delayed until seven hours before kickoff.The 2015 champions hardly laid a finger on the ball in the first half and committed a rash of penalties to give the Crusaders all the momentum.”I thought technically they were probably a bit smarter in the way they played,” Highlanders captain Ben Smith said.”Once they got down into our 22, they used the ball really wisely.”The Highlanders emerged after the break with renewed commitment and stopped their opponents from scoring but were unable to capitalise on their few drives forward.Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo’unga slotted an early penalty but missed another shot 20 minutes later that would have stretched the lead to 6-0.The Crusaders’ forwards then flexed their muscles, however, winning a decisive scrum near the half-hour mark to win a five-metre line-out.A few minutes of bashing against the Highlanders’ defence along the try-line ended with referee Angus Gardner awarding a contentious pick-and-go try to prop Moody under a pile of players.Controversy threatened again five minutes later, when the Crusaders rumbled over from a line-out drive and were awarded the try on the field.It was cancelled moments later after the television match official was unable to see the ball grounded.It scarcely mattered, as the Crusaders rumbled forward again, allowing hooker Taylor to score another pick-and-go try on the stroke of halftime.Mo’unga duly converted and the Crusaders maintained their iron-willed discipline to close out a rousing win and warm the hearts of rain-soaked fans in the terraces.last_img read more

Montpellier pull clear of Racing

first_imgMontpellier won 11-10 on home soil, Jan Serfontein’s try adding to a pair of Ruan Pienaar penalties, with Bordeaux left to count the cost of failing to convert either of Ed Fidow’s scores.Charlie Slade impressed for Pau, booting 11 points, as they kept their noses ahead of Racing throughout.Watisoni Votu scored a second-half double to help Pau move level on points with Toulon and Toulouse in the final play-off spots, ahead of those sides’ assignments on Sunday.Racing’s reverse snapped an eight-game winning run across all competitions and Castres are now just three points behind them in the table after beating Lyon 33-22.Benjamin Urdapilleta kicked three penalties and converted veteran flanker Rodrigo Capo Ortega’s score as Castres took a 16-7 lead into the interval. They were soon behind, though, as Toby Arnold crossed twice, but the reliable Urdapilleta split the posts again before adding the extras to tries from Armand Batlle and Julien Dumora to take the game away from Lyon.Agen climbed out of the bottom two by beating Stade Francais 36-34 in a thriller, while rock-bottom Oyonnax beat Clermont 18-12, just their second win of the season. Photo Getty Images. Caption: Montpellier centre Jan Serfonteinlast_img read more

Distance runners on track for Pacific Games

first_imghe distance squad is undergoing a final week of training with coaches Peter Deane, Bernard Manau and Paul Komba at the National Sports Institute in Goroka.The squad had their last competition before the Games with athletes looking super fit for the athletics competition which is to run from July 13-18.Middle and long distance runner Kaminiel Matlaun recorded a 54 second first lap in the 800m and went on to record a Pacific leading time of 1min 53.1 seconds.The womens race started in similar fashion with Jenny Albert, Cecilia Kumalalamene and Tuna Tine all reaching the bell in a very fast 64 secs and the three were still closely bunched at 150m to go.Sapolai Yao recorded the second best 3000m steeplechase of his long career (9min 30.9 secs) and teammate Skene Kiage clocked a personal best 9min 39.7.In the womens race Rama Kumilgo maintained the outstanding form she showed at the Oceania Championships as she finished well clear in 11min 15secs.Poro Gahekave pushed Miriam Goiye all the way in the 1500m as both athletes recorded personal best times with Goiye clocking 4min 46.3 secs and Gahekave 4:47.0.Mary Kua ran an impressive personal best 18min 38secs in the womens 5000m.Coach Manau thanked the NSI for its support over the last six months and said that the results show that this has been a hugely successful program.PNG’s distance runners had not done that well at the Pacific Games in recent times and the athletes were determined to make a very strong showing this time.//Ends// QNlast_img read more

PNG win gold in women’s soccer

first_imgIt was Marie Kaipu’s goal in the 21st minute of play that gave PNG the win.The second half was dominated by the New Caledonians who threatened to score but solid defence kept them out.In the bronze medal play off, Cook Islands beat Samoa 2-1.last_img