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Mauricio Pochettino hails Arsene Wenger as special manager

He is a “special manager” and one of the greatest innovators in English football.

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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has described Arsenal Arsene Wenger as a “special manager” and one of the greatest innovators in English football.

Pochettino, who guided Tottenham to second-placed last season, is unbeaten in six Premier League meetings with Wenger’s Arsenal since arriving from Southampton in 2014.

Tottenham are in third-place and are already four points above the Gunners this season, but Pochettino gave short shrift to the criticism the Frenchman has faced already in the current campaign.

“In football history he’s one of the great managers, the same level as (former Manchester United manager Alex) Ferguson,” Pochettino told reporters.

“He will always be a special manager. To keep motivation more than three years is difficult. Five years, you must be very good, very good if you’re 10 years.

“When you talk about 20 years it’s amazing. Everyone who talks about him needs to show respect. Some days you’re good, some days not so good. But show respect.”

The former Southampton manager revealed his admiration for Wenger when he was making his way into coaching at Espanyol.

“Wenger was an innovator, ahead of everyone, like Ferguson,” said Pochettino.

“That’s why my respect and admiration is high.”

Arsenal are a great team. For me, there is no favourites in this type of game. He is a fantastic manager. I respect him a lot and admire him,” Pochettino says.

“In a derby its difficult to see a favourite. If you see the history Arsenal were above Tottenham and he deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Ahead of this weekend’s north London derby against Arsenal Spurs are likely to be boosted by the return of Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Dele Alli, who were all ruled out of England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil. The trio returned to full training on Thursday but will have their fitness tested on Friday.

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