Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has verbally agreed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at White Hart Lane until 2021.
The Argentine, who has become one of the most feted coaches in the game after turning Spurs into Premier League title challengers, broke the surprise news of his new five-year deal at a news conference on Friday.
“I believe in this project and this club. I want to stay here,” Pochettino told reporters.
“It was an easy decision when you feel the love of the people and the potential of the club is massive, so why change?
“We create a good atmosphere on the training ground and I think we can achieve big things in the future.
“I am very happy. Tottenham have unbelievable potential. We have created a great group of players, have a very strong squad, young, with potential to be top.”
The 44-year-old has overseen the dramatic rise of Spurs’ exciting young squad, featuring outstanding talents like Harry Kane and Dele Alli, over the past two years since his move from Southampton.
His men still have a pencil-slim chance of lifting the Premier League title this season — it would be Spurs’ first top-flight league triumph since 1961 — after a dramatic tussle with Leicester City.
Spurs are seven points adrift of the surprise leaders, who will lift the title with a win at Manchester United on Sunday but Pochettino has all but guaranteed Champions League qualification for his north London club for the first time since 2010.
“I can say now we reached a verbal agreement with the club to extend two years more my contract here until 2021,” Pochettino told the conference previewing Spurs’ game at Chelsea on Monday.
“We haven’t signed yet but we reached the verbal agreement to stay here for the next five years.”
Spurs will consider that securing the future of one of the brightest young coaches in Europe to be a real coup, especially with Pochettino’s name linked this week with the club he once captained, Paris St Germain.
Pochettino had done an interview with French radio earlier in the week in which he had apparently suggested he could manage the Ligue 1 champions some day in the future but he had been misunderstood, he explained.
Talking of 20-year-old Alli, who will miss the rest of the season after being banned for punching West Bromwich Albion’s Claudio Yacob in Monday’s game, Pochettino insisted that he would not be trying to change the PFA Young Player of the Year’s temperament.
“Alli has a very strong character and personality. For that he is one of the best players in England and we cannot change him,” Pochettino said.