Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has swatted aside rumours linking him with a move to Barcelona and described it as “part of the business”.
Pochettino started his coaching career at Espanyol – Barca’s city rivals – before forging an impressive reputation at Southampton and Spurs.
Luis Enrique’s announcement on Wednesday that he will quit Barca at the end of the season has sparked a wave of speculation as to his successor with Pochettino’s name prominent but the former Argentina defender refused to fan the flames.
Speaking at Friday’s media conference ahead of Sunday’s game with Everton, he said: “I saw it’s a big list, 100 names. Like I always told you it’s a business I know very well.
“I was born with a ball in my arms and I understand very well the business. I don’t take it as flattering.
“For me Tottenham is one of the biggest clubs. We play very good football, [have an] exciting team and very good players.
“It’s normal we catch the attention of other clubs and football people. We are part of that business and our names always appear on the lists.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 3, 2017
Spurs striker Harry Kane, the scorer of hat-tricks in two of their last three games, will be assessed after colliding with a post against Stoke but Pochettino insists he will take no risks with the England international against Ronald Koeman’s men.
He added: “The first moment he said it was good. When after a few minutes he tried, I asked. In that moment we made two changes. He said I am okay.
“But at the end of the game when it got cold, it appeared more painful.
“But I trust that he can play Sunday. If not, if he is a risk, he will not be in the squad.”
Toby Alderweireld is a doubt due to a thigh problem but his central defensive partner Jan Vertonghen is expected to be fit.
Erik Lamela and Danny Rose remain sidelined.