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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham should win a Cup in two years: Robbie Keane

If this squad’s retained, future is bright for Mauricio Pochettino-coached Tottenham Hotspur, says ATK skipper Robbie Keane

football Updated: Nov 06, 2017 20:39 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Mauricio Pochettino has turned Tottenham Hotspur into a Premier League title contender in the last two seasons.
Mauricio Pochettino has turned Tottenham Hotspur into a Premier League title contender in the last two seasons.(AFP)

The Premier League may be a bridge too far this term, but Robbie Keane said Mauricio Pochettino’s good work at Tottenham Hotspur deserves “some sort of a Cup in the next two years.”

Named captain for Indian Super League (ISL) franchise ATK here on Monday, Keane played for 238 games for Spurs in two stints scoring 91 goals.

“At this point, Manchester City are very, very strong but if they (Spurs) keep this team together, they could win the league and do well in Europe in the future,” said Keane.

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Sitting alongside, ATK coach Teddy Sheringham, who played 236 games for Spurs separated by four seasons at Manchester United, said: “I have been really impressed with Pochettino and his work over the past three seasons. He has made Spurs into a formidable club which is getting better every year. City are phenomenal at the moment but things change quickly in football.”

Under Pochettino, a former Argentina defender, Tottenham Hotspur finished second in the league last season. Last week, they beat defending champions Real Madrid 3-1 in the Champions League.

After 11 games this term, Spurs are third in the Premier League standings with the same points, 23, as second-placed Manchester United.

ATK’s oldest captain

Former Ireland captain Keane will wear the armband this season, said ATK’s principal owner Sanjiv Goenka. At 37, he would be the franchise’s oldest captain. Borja Fernandez, who led ATK in 2015 and 2016, was 36 last year as was Luis Garcia when he was named skipper in 2014.

Exactly one year after his last game with LA Galaxy, Keane said he spoke to Alessandro del Piero before coming to India.

“Once the phone call came, I started asking around. He (del Piero) told me how much he enjoyed it and the last three weeks have been very good,” said Keane.

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That he and Sheringham had long careers at Tottenham Hotspur too influenced his decision, said Keane.

“Previous relationships matter and Teddy is a huge factor in me being here,” said Keane.

“I have chosen to come here to get a different experience. It is not about where you play but about giving 100 per cent. I am here to help team retain the title. In certain games you won’t score but if I can help the team, I don’t care who scores,” said Keane.

Keane said Eugenson Lyngdoh and Hitesh Sharma are Indians who have impressed him. “Eugeneson is a very, very European kind of player,” said Keane.

First Published: Nov 06, 2017 20:39 IST