Mauricio Pochettino’s comments on the way Tottenham operate were a warning shot to Daniel Levy

You’d have to have been living in a cave for the past month if you’re unaware of Manchester United’s interest in making Mauricio Pochettino their next permanent manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, with the Red Devils willing to pay a world-record fee for a man who is said to be their only target.

Whilst the Argentinian boss has kept his cards close to his chest since Mourinho’s sacking, the former Southampton manager let slip his main irk with chairman Daniel Levy when speaking ahead of his side’s Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Chelsea – one could even argue that it was a warning shot.

What did Pochettino say?

In his pre-match press conference before Spurs’ game against Maurizio Sarri’s Blues, the 46-year-old said: “Of course we are doing a fantastic job, but if we want to be real contenders we need to operate in a different way in the future.”

For a manager to come out and say “we need to operate in a different way” is bold. Seriously bold.

He holds all the cards

Pochettino’s comments suggest that he holds all the power at Spurs right now; he wouldn’t have directly challenged his boss in such a way if he didn’t feel extremely confident in his role at the club, whilst also being aware of admiring glances from afar.

Levy has now been held at gunpoint, in a way. Pochettino is saying “back me, or I’ll walk to Old Trafford in a blink of an eye”, and there’s no denying that this is the current situation at the north London club.

The Spurs chief has to put his hand in his pocket now, and back arguably the best manager Tottenham have had in decades in order to reinforce what is perhaps the best squad in the same timeframe – if he doesn’t, Levy may well see his empire collapse before his very eyes.