Mauricio Pochettino coy over possible switch to become Tottenham manager, saying the 'possibilities are open'

The Southampton manager says he is for now focused on the end of the season with his current club

Mauricio Pochettino wants to manage in the Premier League for many years to come but stopped short of confirming whether that would be at Southampton.

Having arrived at St Mary's a relative unknown in English football, the former Argentina international's stock has risen markedly since his controversial appointment in January 2013.

Saints' possession-based, attacking game and focus on home-grown talent has been praised by many and has led to Pochettino receiving admiring glances from clubs across Europe.

Real Madrid, Marseille and Monaco have been mentioned as potential suitors, while reports have intensified this week linking Tottenham with a summer move.

"In football I am very much accustomed to living with these rumours," Pochettino said of the link to Spurs.

"I have been living with and hearing these rumours all my life, firstly as a player and then as a manager.

"I am just calm. I am not reacting to these rumours.

"I am fully focused on the job ahead. My job ahead is these last five games of the season with Southampton to try and get as many points as we can."

 

Pochettino was peppered with questions about his future ahead of Saturday's match with Cardiff - a regular theme in pre-match press conferences since the departure of divisive executive chairman Nicola Cortese.

The former defender last summer said he would follow the Italian out of the club should he leave, yet stayed on at Saints after his January exit.

Pochettino plans to sit down with the new board this summer to discuss his and the club's future, although insisted he is "very happy" and "grateful" to be at Saints.

"I have already said I don't talk about rumours," he added. "Tottenham still have a manager, I still have one more year on my contract, I don't talk about rumours and I'm focused on this job.

"I said back in January that at the end of the season I will be speaking to the club. The possibilities are open."

While coy when asked about his short-term future, Pochettino made his desire to stay in the Premier League quite clear, which will only fuel speculation about a potential move to north London.

Asked if his long term future was in the English top-flight, he said: "Yes, yes, yes.

"I would like to be in the Premier League, it is the best league in the world, and I'd like to be here as long as I can."

Those sentiments will no doubt be echoed by Saturday's opponents Cardiff, although their dalliance with the Premier League looks likely to be ending soon.

The Welsh side sit 19th in the standings and six points adrift of safety with just five matches remaining, putting them in serious danger of an immediate return to the Championship.

Cardiff suffered a 3-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace last time out but Pochettino, whose side sit comfortably in eighth, will not be taking them for granted.

"The motivation is always there because we have to defend to the death our colours, our shirt," he said.

"That's what we aim to do in every single game.

"We want to get the maximum number of points out of any season and it's a motivation for these players to be the first players at this football club to get this maximum number of points in the Premier League.

"We also need to look at the growth of this team and of every single player. Those two factors are a massive motivation for us."

PA

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