Mauricio Pochettino knew Mikel Arteta would be a great coach after working together at PSG in 2001, although their bond will be put to be test as Arsenal travel to Chelsea
Mauricio Pochettino knew Mikel Arteta would be a great coach after seeing him call the shots at Paris Saint Germain when he was just a teenager.
The duo, who became PSG teammates in 2001, will face each other as managers for the first time on Saturday.
Despite the 10-year age gap they quickly struck up a bond with Arteta describing how Pochettino treated him like a little brother and calling Chelsea’s head coach a role model.
Pochettino, meanwhile, described Arteta as family and spoke of his love for the Arsenal boss.
There is also no surprise from Pochettino at the manager Arteta has become because of what he saw in their early days together at PSG.
Pochettino said: ‘He was giving advice to me and to others. I was the captain!
‘I think he was 17 and wow… the character, the personality, the charisma.. ‘Already he had the football brain. You either have it or you don’t. You cannot go to the supermarket and buy one.
‘I always used to say ‘Mikel is going to be a coach.’ But not only is he going to be a coach, he’s going to be a great coach.’
Pochettino, who was booked at Burnley and ticked off by his No.2 Jesus Perez for ‘acting like you want to destroy everything and shout’ at Fulham can see something of himself in the animated Arteta who has come under fire for his touchline antics.
‘Mikel, myself or other coaches that played football, in our minds we still believe that we can play football,’ Pochettino said.
‘Still we have the animal instinct that make us to arrive here.’
The friends spoke before Arteta followed Pochettino into coaching with the Arsenal chief joking he was warned: ‘Don’t go into coaching. It’s too hard.’
Though Pochettino played down the idea he wanted to make Arteta part of his Tottenham backroom team before he joined Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Pochettino said: ‘Remember he was the captain of Arsenal and Arsenal and Tottenham the relationship is not so good!
‘Maybe Pep was perfect because City, Arsenal are not enemies. But how do you bring the captain of Arsenal (to Spurs)? It’s a massive problem. We never thought like that.
‘Never did we invite him to work with us at Tottenham. First of all he was never going to accept and secondly, for me, if he thought I was going to invite him then it was impossible.’