HomePoch and Arteta looking forward to emotional reunion

Poch and Arteta looking forward to emotional reunion

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Mauricio Pochettino is relishing the chance to renew acquaintances tomorrow with Mikel Arteta, someone he describes as “more than a friend”.

The pair first met when Pochettino and Arteta joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2001 and, as Spanish speakers, struck up a relationship that exists to this day.

As managers of rival London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal, they must do battle at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League but Pochettino insists that will not affect their close bond.

He said: “As you know Mikel is part of my family, I’m going to meet him tomorrow. It’s going to be really nice, my love for him is there, it’s a family, it’s more than friends, it’s going to be strange.

“When you connect with a person like him, we share the same values and passion, yes he’s part of my family from day one. 

“We arrived in Paris together, we spent time together with our families also. It’s an amazing history. 

“It’s not surprising to me what he’s doing, he was already a coach at 17. 

“He’s great, still really young and, of course, improving day by day.”

Arsenal beat Manchester City last time out to move alongside North London rivals Tottenham at the Premier League summit and Pochettino knows Arteta’s men will present a serious threat to his improving Chelsea side.

Yes it’s going to be tough, they’re doing a great job, it’s a good squad, a good team,” he added. 

“They’re playing so well, they are contenders to win everything. They are doing a fantastic job, so it’s going to be tough but we’re confident we’re going to do a good job.”

Arteta was equally effusive in his praise for Pochettino and looks back fondly on their time together in the French capital 22 years ago.

It was my first professional opportunity in Paris and we arrived at the same time and lived together in a hotel for three months,” Arteta said.

“He was critical, and has been one of the most influential people in my career. Firstly as a player, he took me under the arm and looked after me like a little child, a little brother, and he was a big part of the success I had in Paris. It was because of him, because he really looked after me, gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of advice.

“He has been a role model for me since that day, not only when I was a player but as a manager as well, when I had to make the decision to leave playing and start my coaching career he had a big say on that and I will always be grateful.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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