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Pochettino Discusses Tough Match against Arteta’s Arsenal

In a press conference on Friday, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino opened up about his anticipation for the upcoming clash with Arsenal and his deep-rooted friendship with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. The two managers are set to face off at Stamford Bridge in what promises to be a thrilling encounter on Saturday.

Pochettino expressed his preference for challenging fixtures, saying, "I prefer the tough fixtures. We are thinking to win tomorrow, we respect Arsenal, it's a great team." He acknowledged the quality of the Arsenal squad and praised Arteta's work, calling them contenders for success in various competitions.

He added: “They're playing so well, they are contenders for everything to win. They are doing a fantastic job, so it's going to be tough but we're confident we're going to do a good job."

The emotional connection between Pochettino and Arteta runs deep. Pochettino described Arteta as "part of my family" and reminisced about their shared history. "We arrived in Paris together, we spent time together with our families also," Pochettino said. "When you connect with a person like him, we share the same values and passion, yes he's part of my family from day one. We arrived in Paris together, we spent time together with our families. It's an amazing history. It's not surprising to me what he's doing, he was already a coach at 17. He's great, still really young and, of course, improving day by day."

While the competitive spirit is sure to be at the forefront during the match, Pochettino also acknowledged the unique bond they share, stating, "It's more than friends, it's going to be strange."

The two managers haven't had many opportunities to meet recently due to their respective coaching roles. Pochettino mentioned that they didn't have time to see each other while he was at Tottenham and Arteta was at Arsenal and Manchester City. However, he expressed a desire to reconnect in the future, perhaps over a barbeque. "We didn’t have the time to see each other, in the future maybe we can share a nice barbeque."

Pochettino also commented on the trust that Arsenal has in Arteta's leadership, emphasising that the club believes in his vision and approach to rebuilding the team.

Discussing the recent international break, Pochettino shared his satisfaction with the opportunity to work with young talents from Chelsea's academy. He mentioned that they trained with a significant number of young players and expressed optimism about the team's confidence despite facing some injuries.

"We enjoyed [the international break] a lot because we discovered many young talents from the academy. We trained with 10, 11, and sometimes 14 of the young kids that was very good.

"Today was the first day we are back, it's why I'm late, after the international break we have more than half-hour meetings and training, only today we have the full squad to prepare for the game.

"It was a shame because we had momentum but we didn’t take advantage of that. We need to build the momentum again. I think we are confident, I think the team is confident. We're still fighting, still struggling with injuries as a team. We're working hard to find solutions and we are in a positive way."

In terms of team news, Pochettino revealed that several players, including Axel Disasi, Nicolas Jackson, and Reece James, need to be assessed for their availability in the upcoming match. Armando Broja is sidelined with a knee irritation issue, and Benoit Badiashile might make it to the bench. Enzo Fernandez, who recently joined the team, trained with the group and showed positive progress.

The Chelsea vs. Arsenal clash at Stamford Bridge promises to be an emotional encounter, with Pochettino and Arteta's friendship adding an extra layer of intrigue to the already intense rivalry. Football fans around the world are eagerly awaiting this exciting showdown.

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