Mauricio Pochettino, the Chelsea manager, has expressed his difficulty in watching Dele Alli’s candid interview where he shared his childhood trauma.
Pochettino, who signed Alli for Tottenham in 2015, described the interview as “too painful to watch” and expressed his desire to offer Alli support with a comforting embrace in the near future.
In the interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap, the 27-year-old Alli opened up about his career struggles, battles with addiction, and being subjected to molestation at the age of six.
During his time at Tottenham, Alli showcased immense talent and was regarded as one of the most promising players in England.
However, his form declined after Pochettino’s departure in 2019, and he eventually fell out of favor under Jose Mourinho before joining Everton.
Pochettino’s comments reflect his concern and support for Alli during this challenging period, demonstrating his willingness to offer emotional support to his former player.
Pochettino, who has recently taken charge of Chelsea, has now responded to the interview, revealing that he “didn’t finish the interview because it was so painful”.
“Of course, it was really tough for me to see him,” he toldESPN. “I didn’t finish the interview because it was so painful.
“I didn’t finish the interview because it was so painful. I hope to see him and give him a big hug.” ❤️
Mauricio Pochettino is eager to help his former player Dele Alli pic.twitter.com/rnKig9TxWf
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) July 19, 2023
“He knows how we [Pochettino and his coaching staff] love him, how important he is for us as a person. Like a player, he was amazing but like a person he has a big, big heart.”
The Argentine added that he is in contact with Alli and plans to meet him after Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the United States.
“And of course, we are in contact,” Pochettino continued. “After the USA tour I hope to see him in London, to meet him and give him a big hug.
“Always, it is tough when you love a person but they show in an interview like this, it is really, really painful. But he is a strong, unbelievable guy and for sure he will become stronger.”
Alli was equally effusive in his praise for Pochettino, stating that their relationship was “deeper” than a usual bond between player and manager.
“Mauricio Pochettino was the best manager and I couldn’t have asked for a better manager at the time,” Alli said on The Overlap earlier this month.
“It wasn’t like a footballer and a manager relationship. It was deeper than that, I felt.
“He was just so understanding of the decisions I was making, and he was guiding – like, he cared about me as a person before the football.”