Manchester United were interested in signing Eric Dier over the summer, but Jose Mourinho says Nemanja Matic was always the player he “really wanted”.
Dier is likely to be among the starters against a club whose interest in signing him is well documented, with the Tottenham boss saying in his new book Brave New World
that Mourinho’s interest “destabilised” the England international.
Pochettino insists they have moved on from the issue and his United counterpart certainly feels things have worked out well, having instead signed Matic from former club Chelsea for an initial £35million.
“I have the player that I want to have,” Mourinho said of the defensive midfielder.
“Probably I have the player that I didn’t think it was possible to have, but in the end we got the player that I really wanted.”
Pochettino’s book also features quotes in the epilogue from United left-back Luke Shaw, who reveals the Tottenham boss used to call him “son” during their successful spell together at Southampton.
The England international freely admits he wants to link up once more with Pochettino eventually, with the full-back even saying “I think he really wants me to play under him again”.
Such comments only fuel speculation about a move to Spurs as Shaw’s United future is up in the air, with the 22-year-old having this season been restricted to just two appearances from the bench in the Carabao Cup.
Asked if Shaw has a future at United, Mourinho said: “Why not? Because of his words?
“If you want to speak about his words, I would be very disappointed if his words were different.
“I am always disappointed when a player because he has a new manager, the new manager becomes the best and the old manager becomes very bad - and football is full of examples of lack of character.
“Luke Shaw was just honest. The manager that helped him come to the first-team, the manager that helped him to develop in the best moment of his career, is a manager he doesn’t forget, a manager he likes a lot, a manager that maybe one day he would like to be reunited again.
“So, for me, the perfect words that show Luke Shaw’s character in relation to the people he was happy with.
“He has a future here, I think he has, but the situation is not easy because he comes from injury after injury after injury.”
More from Brave New World
Pochettino on Mourinho:
“He is the very best at controlling the public message. I admire him as a coach. That’s not just because he opened his door to me when he was at the Bernabeu or because he was kind to me when I was at Espanyol and when I moved to England. I had several conversations with Jose last summer about certain players. Whenever I phoned him or sent him a message he replied., but we haven’t stayed in contact as much during the season. I’m not one to ask for favours. I’ve always been loyal and expect it to be mutual.
Pochettino on Alex Ferguson:
“When I met him, what impressed me most was not so much the CV, but his energy and aura. His character, his charisma engulfs you. I’d love to keep calling on his advice.”
Luke Shaw on leaving Pochettino’s Southampton:
“We exchanged messages when he saw me with the Manchester United shirt, but not many because he was really disappointed in me. He’s said to be since that I broke his heart.”
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