Paris Saint-Germain finds themselves back in the UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals and facing an opponent Mauricio Pochettino is well aware of in Manchester City FC. The Argentine tactician spent several years improving his managerial craft in England while at Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur.
Ahead of the Champions League matchup, Pochettino sat down with The Guardian to discuss various topics. One of the first topics of discussion is his approach to coaching superstar players.
Despite being in the Premier League and coaching at a big six club, Tottenham never had players of the status of Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappé, Marco Verratti, Ángel Di María, or Kaylor Navas.
“I am not an actor,” Mauricio Pochettino said. “Neymar, Verratti, Navas, Mbappé, of course Di María. There are plenty of talented players, big characters.”
“But the most important thing with managing is being natural, genuine, spontaneous. I am a football coach; I am not going to change. I am like I am. I try to empathize, to find out how the players are to create a good emotional link.”
The English media outlet then asked Pochettino about a specific player, Neymar. There’s no denying the 29-year-old is often over criticized by media outlets.
However, as the PSG manager went on to say, coaching players of Neymar’s caliber is easy, considering he doesn’t have to do much.
Furthermore, Pochettino states the characteristics that Neymar shares with a former Brazilian teammate of his while at PSG during his playing career, Ronaldinho.
“It’s so easy with Neymar because you don’t need to do too much,” Pochettino said. “From day one, he’s been very open to work. He’s very humble; he listens and always accepts all the instructions in a very good way.”
“Brazilian players have something special inside. They love to play football because it’s like a dance. They play like they are dancing. Ronaldinho was my teammate when I was a PSG player and now Neymar. They need to feel good, to feel happy to perform in the best way.”
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