Spurs' Argentine boss should have shown north London club respect by completely rebuffing Madrid questions
When you’ve got a book to sell, it’s a given you need to drum up headlines and create a buzz of publicity.
From the media’s perspective, a book launch coinciding with a hot news line and topic, of which the writer or individual being written about is part of the story, is an open goal, can’t miss opportunity in football terms.
The subject, whoever they are, need to promote and shift their book from the shelves while journalists have a relatively straightforward story to cover in the palm of their hands. Bingo.
You have to give Mauricio Pochettino and his PR team all the benefit of the doubt, that his hardback offering: ‘A Brave New World‘, was always intended to be launched on Friday in Barcelona.
That, as such, meant his schedule to arrange a date for promotional purposes would have been tight but it made sense to do it in Catalonia given the 46-year-old’s long association with the region and his lengthy stint as a cult hero at Espanyol.
But, for a man often billed as potential successor to Zinedine Zidane even before the Frenchman unexpectedly resigned on Thursday, the timing of the launch is well placed.
In an era where journalists’ access to footballers and managers is becoming more and more difficult given the ever-growing powers of club media channels, you could say fair play to Pochettino for taking questions in a one-on-one and press conference environment.
Then again, what happened in Barcelona on Friday was a prime example of why, sometimes, you need to take those in the limelight out of the firing line.
As soon as the news broke of Zidane’s departure, it was obvious Pochettino’s name would be among the frontrunners and that storyline would indeed dominate his book launch.
The man himself, knowing full well what was coming, should have declined those interview requests, shown respect to Tottenham and not answered any Real Madrid-linked questions.
Having just re-committed to the club and lauded words about his future and their future at a brand new stadium last week, to publicly state he would consider, what could be an imminent approach from Los Blancos, was shocking.
Yes, he might have had a clause inserted to his new deal allowing him to engage in discussions with Florentino Perez should the Whites come calling, but to declare his interest so publicly, showed no loyalty and spoke volumes of someone who has been labelled a career manager in the past.
By all means, hold talks with the Bernabeu giants privately but his comments left a sour taste for a manager who has been deservedly revered in recent seasons for the way in which he has rejuvenated Spurs.
“You can rule me out completely,” were the words of Joachim Low, the Germany manager, when he was asked if he would be interested in taking the job.
This was a classic example of a manager swiftly dealing with a rumour and putting it to bed.
Ultimately, Pochettino probably didn’t want to distance himself from the hotseat in the same manner but he would have garnered far more respect by not going in front of the cameras and displayed a degree of allegiance with his current employers.
However, after what he did, this was confirmation, as if we needed it, that loyalty and football long since parted ways.