Pep Guardiola, Roy Hodgson deserve manager of the year award - Spurs' Pochettino
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino has said he cannot choose between title-winning Pep Guardiola and overachieving Roy Hodgson as his Premier League manager of the season.
The Tottenham boss said it was impossible to choose given the vast disparity in resources across the league and he called for two separate awards: one for the manager who wins the title and another for the coach who performs best in the circumstances.
Guardiola has led Manchester City to the League Cup and championship playing a much-lauded style of football, while Hodgson's Palace guaranteed their Premier League survival with two games to spare last weekend.
But while Guardiola has spent roughly £450 million in two seasons at City, Hogdson inherited a Palace team rock bottom of the table and without a goal after four straight defeats. His squad has been decimated by injuries and the club bought just three players for a total of about £11m in January.
Asked for his pick, Pochettino, who does not get to vote, said: "Me? No. Because we are 'the best team in the world' and we didn't win a trophy, so it is impossible [for me] to be the best manager!
"But for me seriously, if we only see the trophies? Of course, it's Guardiola. And with all the context? If we analyse every single context, every single club, with the circumstances, I think Roy Hodgson. For me, if you say to me, pick one -- I cannot pick one. I am going to pick two. Pep Guardiola deserves it and Roy Hodgson deserves it. For me there are two winners."
Guardiola would be the first title-winning City boss to win the accolade, which is chosen by a panel assembled by the league's sponsor, after snubs for Roberto Mancini in 2012 and Manuel Pellegrini in 2014, in favour of Newcastle's Alan Pardew and Tony Pulis of Palace, respectively.
"That is very strange, no?" Pochettino continued. "For me, it is like [Antonio] Conte last season and [Claudio] Ranieri the season before -- whoever wins the Premier League deserves to be the best manager. It is normal.
"But then we need to create another award, to analyse every single club with all the context to decide who is the best.
"If you have the best car and you win, you deserve the trophy. Then maybe you overachieve with a car that cannot compete with another. To know only who is the best you need to start with the same conditions, the same car and the same engine -- the same everything.
"Everything Roy has been doing [impresses me]," added Pochettino, who bonded with Hodgson while the 70-year-old was England boss.
"He took charge of a very difficult situation at Palace and look how they are playing now. Of course, Guardiola deserves it as well because they won the League Cup and the Premier League. But it would be unfair to say only him. Roy Hodgson, when you analyse everything did a fantastic job."
Meanwhile, Pochettino says he has no concerns over Mousa Dembele's long-term fitness, insisting the Belgian should be able to play at the highest level for another two to three years.
A year ago, Dembele said he would never play without pain after undergoing surgery for a persistent foot problem at the end of last season, and he has started just 21 league games this term.
The 30-year-old, who is a doubt for Saturday's trip to West Brom with a twisted ankle, could leave Spurs in the summer and it has been suggested that he no longer feels able to deal with the physical demands of English football.
But asked if Dembele could continue playing at this level for another few years, Pochettino said: "We hope yes and I think yes. It's not a problem but of course he's a player we need to pay attention to, maybe more than another.
"Of course, we need to be careful about his ankle [at the moment] and then it's about managing him in the best way to be fit, so he can play. He twisted his ankle and felt pain and now we need to wait a few days to see what happens but I don't think it's a big issue."
Pochettino has previously said Dembele would be one of the best players in the world if he had managed the midfielder, who he has described as a "genius" more than once, as a teenager.
"It was more an innocent comment from myself," Pochettino explained. "Be sure that he's had unbelievable managers and coaching staff to help him reach this level. To have Messi at 20-years-old, or Cristiano Ronaldo, Maradona -- this type of player would be amazing to manage when they're so innocent, so naive, so raw.
"It's amazing to have this possibility to have this type of player when they start their career."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.