Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino relishing chance to battle Arsenal twice in December
Mauricio Pochettino is relishing the challenge of facing Arsenal and their new head coach Unai Emery in the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup after Tottenham progressed past West Ham.
Spurs, who triumphed 3-1 at the London Stadium in the last 16 on Wednesday, will visit the Gunners in the Premier League on Dec. 2 and then travel to the Emirates again in the week of Dec. 17 for their cup showdown.
Pochettino and Emery were rival managers in Spain, and the Argentinian said: "It will be an exciting game. I am excited to face Arsenal and Unai Emery, who is a very good friend of ours, and to challenge and to face all the coaching staff.
"I think he is one of the greatest managers. It is always good to challenge them, like Pep [Guardiola] on Monday or Manuel [Pellegrini] tonight.
"It is a little bit ironic that our worst enemies are West Ham and Arsenal, but I love Manuel and Unai and we have a very good relationship with them. OK, during 90 minutes we are going to fight but then before and after I think we are going to enjoy."
Son Heung-Min scored two of Spurs' goals at West Ham, breaking his duck after previously failing to register this season.
"I think it's so important for an offensive player to find the net," said Pochettino. "I'm happy because that is going to give him very good confidence and trust in himself.
"You feel sorry when the player works so hard and doesn't find the reward about your job. Sonny, in the last few weeks or months, was in a situation where he wanted to work every day more and more, to try to change that situation.
"When the player gets the reward you feel proud and so happy. That's why I hugged him. We shared the happiness. I celebrated because I've felt sorry for him."
Tottenham's cup tie in east London came just 48 hours after their defeat against Manchester City on Monday, forcing Pochettino to make 10 changes to his line-up -- yet his side triumphed.
"I am very happy, very proud," he said. "I think that, in 48 hours, to play two games so competitively against Manchester City and West Ham, I have to be proud. The effort was fantastic, the performance was very good.
"For me, the surprise was Davinson Sanchez. He was a beast, playing two games in less than 48 hours. He is very strong physically and mentally. Today he was fantastic on the pitch and to praise him isn't enough. The effort was fantastic."
Pochettino gave three players -- Juan Foyth, Kyle Walker-Peters and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou -- their first appearances of the season, while Fernando Llorente got a rare start and rewarded his manager with a goal.
"Today was difficult but I feel so proud because the players have been are working so hard, waiting for their opportunities," said Pochettino. "It is so important for the team, the players. They need to feel they can fight and be in consistent starting XIs in different competitions.
"We talk about the confidence and sometimes we need that from the club -- me, whoever. We need to show that we trust in the players, and I think today was fantastic because the team received the confidence and trust from us. You can win or lose but the players are all ready to compete."