The former Spurs star has highlighted the fact the Argentine failed to a win a trophy in north London amid rumours of a possible Premier League return
Manchester United linked Mauricio Pochettino is not an elite manager like Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, according to former Tottenham striker Darren Bent.
Pochettino has been out of work since being sacked by Spurs in November 2019, but has opened the door to a return to the Premier League amid ongoing rumours he could be in line to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.
“I discovered an amazing people in this country, an amazing culture. I am in love,” the Argentine told Sky Sports on Monday.
“I was always ready to be involved in the game again. I love football. It’s my passion, not my job.”
Pochettino transformed Tottenham into Premier League contenders and Champions League finalists during his five-year reign, getting the best out of the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen while implementing an entertaining, attack-minded philosophy.
He was, however, unable to bring to an end the club’s long wait for silverware, and for that reason, Bent doesn’t hold him in the same esteem as the top managers in English football.
“When I look at elite managers that are out there: I look at [Jurgen] Klopp, [Pep] Guardiola and even [Carlo] Ancelotti,” the former Spurs star told talkSPORT. “I can’t put Pochettino into that bracket yet. I know he’s been at Spurs, but he didn’t win anything.
“But to elevate him all of a sudden because he got to a Champions League final and a League Cup final, that’s not world level management for me. I think he’s good, but I just don’t just think he’s in that bracket.
“You look at what Pochettino did at Spurs. He took them to a level. At the end of the day after all that great work that Poch had done developing these players such as Dele Alli and Harry Kane, [chairman] Daniel Levy still needed someone to come in and win them trophies.
“It felt like Pochettino could not do that. Was getting them to a Champions League final enough? Does that automatically catapult you into that elite bracket, because you took someone into a Champions League final? For me it doesn’t.”
Bent also ranks Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta above Pochettino, having seen the Spaniard deliver two trophies at Emirates Stadium in 11 months.
“Look at [Mikel] Arteta at Arsenal, too. He’s a better coach than Pochettino as well. He’s not even been a manager for a year and look at what he’s done there,” he added.
“He’s identified the players he’s got there and knows definitely they weren’t great defensively. He’s changed that all completely around.
“He’s gone in there and won an FA Cup and a Community Shield, while beating some of the biggest teams out there. He’s managed to find a way of winning things.”