Opposite number Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored that famous goal in Barcelona in 1999.

Mauricio Pochettino revelled in Solskjaer's Champions League glory

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  • 2019-01-11 23:10:48 1 years ago
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Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, the man who is favourite to become Manchester United's next permanent manager, has admitted to celebrating their most famous goal.

Pochettino is thought to be United's first choice to take over from caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is holding the fort following Jose Mourinho's sacking last month.

The Argentinian – an Espanyol player at the time – has revealed he was at the Nou Camp in 1999 as Solskjaer's injury-time goal against Bayern Munich won the Red Devils the Champions League.

The pair will go head-to-head at Wembley on Sunday as Spurs host United in the Premier League.

"I have good memories because I remember when he scored after 90 minutes at the Nou Camp, I was with Tony Jimenez, my goalkeeping coach we were then at the Nou Camp in 1999," he said.

Mauricio Pochettino File Photo
Mauricio Pochettino is thought to be top of Manchester United's shortlist (PA/Mike Egerton)

"I remember him when he scored the second goal in the injury-time and how I shouted the goal of Manchester United, that was unbelievable.

"We were neutral people watching a fantastic game. I have good memories of him.

"On Sunday we are going to meet at Wembley when 20 years ago I was shouting a goal that he scored for Manchester United and now we are going to play them at Wembley."

Pochettino does think Solskjaer will have added motivation to beat the man who is the favourite to get his job in the summer.

Solskjaer has intimated he would like the job on a permanent basis and a win in the toughest examination of his spell so far could earn him some credit.

Soccer/Solskjaer celebration
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored possibly the most famous goal in Manchester United history (PA/Owen Humphreys)

"The motivation is always going to be there," said Pochettino. "Of course when you're a manager or coach you cannot be focused on all the rumours.

"The most important thing is the motivation that we have to do our job in our best way. Of course Manchester is going to come on Sunday trying to win.

"Of course for him it's a massive motivation or challenge to manage Manchester United, like for me it's a massive challenge to be in front for this football club, Tottenham.

"Always the motivation is to win because we're so competitive. We're people that love to win and hate to lose, and always when you play a friendly game or a competitive game like Sunday always it's about winning.

"No one wants to lose. The motivation is going to be there because in the Premier League always the motivation is about winning."

Meanwhile, Pochettino compared Christian Eriksen to his beloved dog Sansa.

Eriksen has been biding his time on signing a new deal amid reported interest from Real Madrid.

"Christian is a very special person and you need to give him freedom, like on the pitch," Pochettino, who regularly waxes lyrical about his Rhodesian Ridgeback, said.

"You cannot put him in a box. You need to give freedom and trust him. Like my dog, in the park. I trust my dog. I say, 'Go, I trust you'.

"And Christian is a very clever person and of course there's going to be a decision from him, from the club, from different parts and I hope he can be committed to the club long-term.

Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Cardiff City Stadium
Christian Eriksen has been linked with a move away (PA/Mark Kerton)

"We hope that he can be here for a long time. I think Christian is a fantastic player.

"I was in Copenhagen in the summer. I spent time with Jesus (Perez), my wife and Christian – very nice restaurant.

"We all hope that Christian will agree with the club a long-term contract because he's a great player.

"But like I explained a few weeks ago, in football it's about timings, negotiations, different parties and how they feel.

"Of course, it's his right to wait, to sign this week or in six months, to have different dreams and challenges.

"For me, it's not a point to discuss. He's committed to us, he's playing so well. I'm so happy with him."

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Mauricio Pochettino revelled in Solskjaer's Champions League glory

Hodgson happy with Hennessey explanation over gesture

Wayne Hennessey has the full backing of Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson who insists the Wales goalkeeper did not make a Nazi salute during a night out.

Hennessey appeared to perform the gesture in a picture posted on Instagram by Eagles team-mate Max Meyer as the players celebrated their FA Cup win against Grimsby on Saturday.

The 31-year-old denied doing so, instead claiming on Twitter that he was calling out to the person taking the photograph "to get on with it" and "at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry".

The Football Association is looking into the incident, but Hodgson is convinced by the player's explanation.

"I believe him totally. I have no reason to disbelieve him," the Palace boss said.

"The other players had no awareness of anything inappropriate, so much so that they had no idea before the photo was posted that it had happened.

"Wayne has explained himself very satisfactorily to both me and the club. I know Wayne, I know the type of man he is and I have no hesitation whatsoever in backing him and backing his version of the story."

Hodgson also delivered an emphatic response to Jermain Defoe's claim that he rejected a move to Selhurst Park in favour of joining Rangers.

Palace are in the market for a striker during the January transfer window after dominating a string of recent games without scoring sufficient goals, but Hodgson insists Defoe was not on the club's radar.

"That's not true. We had no interest in Jermain Defoe. As with a number of strikers, I saw Defoe's name mentioned in relation to the club," Hodgson said.

"But it's one thing people relating players to us because they're anxious to find a move for them and it's another for our club to initiate moves to sign someone. We state categorically that we've made no move at all to sign Jermain.

"I like him, he's a good player and I'm pleased that he's gone to Rangers, but we weren't a candidate for his signature."

After struggling to dispatch 10-man Grimsby last Saturday, Palace resume their Premier League campaign against Watford at Selhurst Park.

It is the first meeting between the rivals since Troy Deeney revealed that the Hornets "took it in turns" to kick and foul Wilfried Zaha in August as part of a plan designed to contain the Eagles forward.

In the same match, Zaha was the victim of a controversial tackle by Etienne Capoue.

"At the time I made of the comments what everyone else in football made of them – Troy is a very honest guy but I don't think it was a wise thing to say," Hodgson said.

"I'm pretty certain that when I see Troy (on Saturday) – I always have a very friendly meeting with him before the game as he's the opposing captain – and ask him about the comment, I'm certain the first thing he'd say is that it was a mistake.

"With regard to the (Capoue) tackle, that was also a mistake. It was a bad tackle. It wasn't punished, in our opinion, the way it should have been. But mistakes happen. It has no bearing on the match tomorrow."

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Crystal Palace are not a one-man team – Gracia

Watford manager Javi Gracia will not devise a special plan to stop Wilfried Zaha as he denied Crystal Palace are a one-man team.

The Hornets travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday aiming to build on an encouraging festive period where they lost only one match, a 2-1 Boxing Day defeat at home to Chelsea.

Zaha may have starred for Palace in recent times – indeed, Eden Hazard was the only player to have completed more dribbles and won more fouls in the Premier League than the Ivorian last season – but Gracia said: "We have a collective vision, and we never think about an individual plan.

"We know that Zaha is an important player for them because he has a lot of qualities, and a lot of skill, but they have very good players, more than only one.

"Zaha dribbles a lot and we know we have to be ready to control him, but Andros Townsend, Andre Ayew, and other players they have are dangerous, too. They have a strong squad."

As Gracia approaches a year in charge at Vicarage Road, the Spaniard has provided some much-needed stability , and was rewarded by the club's owners with a long-term contract before Christmas.

Watford are eighth, on course for their best-ever finish in the Premier League, and could be forgiven for having one eye on qualifying for Europe.

"I am happy, but I always want more," added Gracia. "I always want to improve.

"When we start the season, I want to be the champion, I want to be the first one. I have that vision, and that ambition. After that, we will be the best team in the competition. It's my expectation and I want to work with that mentality.

"Every game we play is a good challenge for us and is a chance for us to show what we are able to do.

"This point of view is better because at the end of the road we can see our achievement. I prefer to enjoy every day and be ambitious in every training session. We can improve in every little detail."

Gracia will take a late decision on whether to include Christian Kabasele and Andre Gray for the trip to Palace after the duo returned to training from their respective injury lay-offs on Thursday.

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