2 May 2024

Poch returns to Spurs for the first time in four years – now as manager of their fiercest rivals

The Argentine helped transform the north London side into top-four contenders, leading them to a second-placed Premier League finish in 2017, while also guiding them to their first Champions League final in 2019 when they finished runners-up.

Spurs take on Chelsea on Thursday at 21:00 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The game will be shown live on Showmax Premier League

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino admits it will be a “strange” but special moment to face his former club Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night. The Argentine returns to Spurs for the first time in four years, but now as the manager of one of their fiercest rivals. While Poch is relishing the challenge against his former team, he has admitted that he is unsure how he will be welcomed by the fans.

“I’m not going to say anything now because we cannot guess what is going to happen then,” Pochettino told media. “The most important thing is people know that we cannot forget all that we lived together, amazing memories there. I am going to respect the people; however they are going to express, but it’s not going to change my emotion, my view, my feelings about a club that I think we spend an unbelievable journey with.”

Pochettino, however, isn’t the first manager to move between the two clubs. There have been several managers during the Premier League era that have switched allegiances over the years. Big name managers such as Jose Mourinho and Andra-Villas Boas have managed both clubs, with varying degrees of success. 

Ahead of the crucial clash between the two mammoth London clubs, Showmax takes a look back at the managers who have taken charge of both Spurs and Chelsea in the Premier League era.

Glenn Hoddle

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 02: TNT Sports Pundit Glenn Hoddle is seen prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on April 02, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Chelsea: 1993-1996: (Games 140, Won 45, Drew 47)

Spurs: 2001-2003: (Games 101, Won 39, Drew 18)

When his days as a gifted midfielder were coming to an end, Glenn Hoddle took up the role of player-manager at Chelsea. He managed to lead the Blues back into Europe by reaching the 1994 FA Cup final, however, true consistency was hard to find. At Spurs, Hoddle picked up a couple of Manager of the Month awards but could only manage placings of ninth and tenth in his two full seasons before being booted.

Andre Villas-Boas

Portuguese driver and former head coach of British football teams Chelsea and Tottenham, Andre Villas Boas is pictured during a press conference in Lima on January 5, 2018 ahead of the 2018 Dakar Rally. (Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea: 2011-2012 (Games 40, Won 20, Drew 10)

Spurs: 2012-2013 (Games 80, Won 45, Drew 18)

Villas-Boas arrived at Chelsea in 2011 as a young managerial prodigy. Chelsea paid £13.3m in compensation but that outlay never came close to looking worth it as he was ditched in his first season with only 40 games played. Spurs signed him up after the departure of Harry Redknapp, and in his first season at Spurs he managed a fifth-place finish. Tottenham came fifth but Gareth Bale was sold that summer, and a number of inadequate players were brought in as replacements. A 6-0 defeat at Manchester City and a 5-0 home loss to Liverpool were the final nails in Villas-Boas’ coffin at Spurs.

Jose Mourinho

HAIFA, ISRAEL – JULY 30: AS Roma coach Josè Mourinho prior the pre-season friendly match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and AS Roma at Sammy Ofer Stadium on July 30, 2022 in Haifa, Israel. (Photo by Fabio Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images)

Chelsea: 2004-2007; 2013-2015 (Games 320, Won 204, Drew 65)

Spurs : 2019-2021 (Games 86, Won 45, Drew 17)

Mourinho was arguably at his career best during his first spell at Chelsea, winning back-to-back Premier League titles. He came back to win more trophies at Stamford Bridge after successful ventures with Inter and Real Madrid. Mourinho then joined Spurs when Pochettino was sacked in 2019 shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic changed football for a few years. The Portuguese coach has since admitted he has little emotional feeling towards Tottenham due to the empty stadiums and being sacked days before a Carabao Cup final against Man City.

Antonio Conte

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – MARCH 18: Tottenham manager Antonio Conte gestures during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Friends Provident St. Mary’s Stadium on March 18, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Chelsea: 2016-2018 (Games 106, Won 70, Drew 15)

Spurs: 2021-2023 (Games 76, Won 41, Drew 12)

Conte turned Chelsea’s fortunes around to win the 2016/17 Premier League title before missing out on Champions League qualification the next season, which also yielded FA Cup success. He became a fan favourite at Spurs for leading the North London team to fourth in 2021/22 after a horrendous start under Nuno Espirito Santo, but Spurs’ already disappointing 2022/23 campaign really came off the rails when the Italian lambasted his squad in March and left during the international break.

Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Chelsea, prior to the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC - Premier League live on Showmax
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 6: Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Chelsea on the sideline during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 6, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Nigel French/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

Spurs: 2015-2019 ( Games 293, Won 160,  Drew 60)

Chelsea: Current

Poch was adored by the Spurs faithful for making Champions League football a regular feature in North London, while financial constraints as the current stadium was being built helped enhance his reputation as an excellent man manager.

Things haven’t got better at Tottenham since his departure in 2019 and Pochettino is now tasked with trimming an overly stuffed Chelsea squad down to his liking, with trophies surely expected by Todd Boehly and co. So far, Poch has struggled at Chelsea, with the Blues languishing in ninth place. They have lost eleven Premier League games already and are out of every other competition.

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