Mauricio Pochettino confident of avoiding dugout gaffe on return to Tottenham

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino is confident he will not repeat Ron Atkinson’s Mr Bean-esque gaffe of standing in the wrong dugout on his return to Tottenham.

‘Big Ron’ unwittingly provided entertainment at the City Ground in 1999 when he mistakenly took his place in front of the away team’s bench in his first match since being appointed Nottingham Forest manager.

Pochettino was asked about that famous blunder ahead of going back to Spurs on Monday evening but initially confused veteran boss Atkinson with near-namesake Rowan Atkinson, creator of comedy character Mr Bean.

Then Nottingham Forest manager Ron Atkinson (left) famously went to the wrong dugout at The City Ground
Then Nottingham Forest manager Ron Atkinson (left) famously went to the wrong dugout at The City Ground (John Giles/PA)

Following the brief misunderstanding, the Argentinian, who managed Tottenham between 2014 and 2019, insisted he will not make a similar error as he helped design the layout of his former club’s stadium.

“Ah, Mr Bean? Ron Atkinson is the actor?”, Pochettino replied to the original question, before the mix-up was explained.

“Ah, OK, OK – I was thinking the actor. My wife will kill me! She will say, ‘I told you, remember that is the name’.

“No (I will not make the same mistake). I know very well the away dugout. I know very well because I designed where it was, I was there with the architect.

“On the right is the local (home) and the away is on the left.”

Pochettino is preparing for a special occasion on his first reunion with Tottenham since being sacked four years ago.

He holds fond memories of his spell with the north London club, which included reaching the Champions League final just months before his dismissal.

Despite being desperate for victory, the 51-year-old rejected any notion of seeking revenge in response to the nature of his departure.

Mid-table Chelsea are in great need of points to kickstart their season following just three Premier League wins from 10 games, while unbeaten Tottenham are among the early pacesetters.

“I want to win,” said Pochettino, who arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer. “I want to beat them.

“But when I play with my kids, I want to beat them, or my dad, or my brothers, or my friends – I try to kill them!

“I want to win because we are competitive, I am competitive.

“It’s not a special thing. I don’t want to go there and (people) think it’s a revenge. For what?

“For me, it’s going to be important because we need to win, Chelsea need to win because we need the points.

“But not because it’s special because it’s against Tottenham.”