Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has warned Tottenham they face a fight to hold onto boss Mauricio Pochettino following his quiet transformation of the club.
Ferguson expects Spurs’ most concerted top-flight title challenge for half a century to end in failure, with current leaders Leicester his tip to complete a watershed Premier League triumph.
But he revealed his admiration for the improvement overseen by Pochettino, whose success since moving from Southampton in 2014 has seen him linked with Ferguson’s old United job.
“Tottenham, at the moment, are playing some of the best football I have seen from a Spurs team in many years,” said Ferguson. “Leicester have got the edge; I think they’ll get there. Tottenham’s biggest problem will be keeping Mauricio Pochettino. There will be a lot eyes on him.”
Ferguson is also gushing in his praise for two of the stars of Tottenham’s season, teenage midfielder Dele Alli and forward Harry Kane, who he compared to two of England’s all-time greats.
“He’s the best young midfield player I’ve seen in England for many years, probably going as far back as [Paul] Gascoigne,” he said of Alli. “The boy has got everything. It’s early for him, of course, but the signs are fantastic.”
Of Kane, who has scored 27 goals this season for club and country, he added: “Kane has been fantastic, hits the target well, and he reminds me of Alan Shearer in that most of his shots were on the target.”
Spurs can cut Leicester’s lead to two points with victory at Liverpool tomorrow, although Ferguson fancies Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes, who meet Southampton on Sunday, to complete a fairytale success in May.
“Leicester have the bit between their teeth,” said the Scot, who led United to 13 league titles. “They’ve been the best team without question throughout the season and they deserve to win it. You would think their inexperience would count, but Leicester have unbelievable energy and togetherness that suggests they’re going to see it through.”
He also sounded a note of caution for Pep Guardiola, the Bayern Munich boss set to land at Manchester City in the summer, warning a coach he once courted as a successor that he faces his biggest challenge yet.
“Man City have made a real coup in getting him but Pep won’t find it easy,” he added. “English football is not easy. Every foreign coach that has come to England will tell you that. Pep will be a success but I don’t think he’ll ever replicate what he did at Barcelona because that was a high standard – they were the best.
“Pep will improve City but Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham will want to do something and will be desperate to win the league next season as much as City, so for Pep there is not a guarantee they can win the league.”