Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino are two of the top coaches in the Premier League but both are trying to find the right formula for success at their respective clubs.
Pochettino enjoyed a positive first Premier League spell in his days with Tottenham and is now being backed in the transfer market to a ludicrous degree by Chelsea. He also has his time at Paris Saint-Germain to draw upon, whereas Ten Hag is only into his second season as Manchester United manager. Ajax are the biggest club he had coached before arriving in England.
They recently met for their first Premier League clash, but Ten Hag and Pochettino have locked horns before in one of the most dramatic Champions League semi-final ties in recent memory.
Here is the complete head-to-head record betwee Ten Hag and Pochettino.
Erik ten Hag vs Mauricio Pochettino H2H record
1. Tottenham 0-1 Ajax - 30 April 2019
The 2018/19 Champions League season was a pretty special one for drama, particularly during the semi-final tie between Ajax and Tottenham.
Neither side were expected to get so far in the tournament. Spurs had knocked out Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City to reach the final four while Ajax's special squad featuring players like Matthijs de Ligt, Donny van de Beek, Hakim Ziyech, Andre Onana and Frenkie de Jong eliminated Juventus and Real Madrid.
In the first leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Ajax continued their superb form with a win that put them in great stead for the second game. The winner came from Van de Beek inside 15 minutes after Ziyech's pass split the Tottenham defence and the future Man Utd midfielder turned and slotted past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham were left with a massive job to do in Amsterdam against a team that had won the hearts and minds of almost every football fan in Europe.
2. Ajax 2-3 Tottenham - 8 May 2019
In the early stages of the return leg, Tottenham certainly did not rise to the occasion. Pochettino's side only needed to win 1-0 to ensure extra time but found themselves 2-0 down at half-time with little hope of reaching the final remaining.
De Ligt headed in the first goal and a wonderful finish from Ziyech put Ten Hag's side in complete control of the tie. As long as they avoided conceding three goals in the second half, the young and frighteningly talented Eredivisie team would reach the Champions League final.
However, Lucas Moura personally felt he could not let that happen and turned into a man on a mission in the second half. He scored ten minutes in and another followed just four minutes later. With half an hour to go, Tottenham were right back in it again.
Despite having all the momentum and posing a real threat, the tie-winning strike continued to evade Tottenham while Ajax posed a very serious threat at the other end.
The dream of European glory seemed over for Spurs, but then the stars aligned with a chain of events that could so easily have not resulted in a goal.
A punt upfield with only seconds remaining was brought down by a combination of De Ligt and Fernando Llorente and dropped perfectly to Dele Alli, who was able to quickly poke the ball into the box. His pass perfectly matched the run of Lucas who rolled the ball past Onana.
The entire Spurs team and benched wheeled away in complete disbelief and elation, while 11 Ajax players fell to the turf, knowing they'd thrown away a chance that may never come again in their careers. For many, it hasn't and won't.
It will have been an immense learning opportunity for Ten Hag, as well as heartbreaking. For Pochettino, it was one of the crowning nights of his managerial career. They may have lost the final, but just getting there was an immense achievement.
3. Man Utd 2-1 Chelsea - 6 December 2023
The first clash between the two coaches in the Premier League came at Old Trafford in the first half of the 2023/24 season.
Neither team was enjoying a particularly productive campaign so far but Man Utd had hit some form, albeit losing 1-0 to Newcastle in the previous match.
Ten Hag's side started the match superbly and quickly won a penalty which Robert Sanchez saved from Bruno Fernandes, but the lead still came before the break through Scott McTominay. They should have been two or three goals up, but childhood Man Utd fan Cole Palmer grabbed an equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
The second half was a cagier affair but Ten Hag's team still looked the most likely to get all three points, and it was McTominay again who popped up to make it 2-1.
It was a performance that made Ten Hag happy, saying after the game: "Crisis? Not for us. We keep calm. The team is in a good direction.
"It is not a frustration but we could have made our life easier [by scoring more]. We were very dynamic, proactive and brave and we are pleased with that."
The post-match interviews were not as much fun for Pochettino: "I am disappointed because we didn't start the game well. The feeling is that they started better than us, showing more energy than us. We couldn't match the energy. I think they were better than us and there's nothing I can say."
Erik ten Hag vs Mauricio Pochettino H2H Record
- Games played: 3
- Erik ten Hag: 2 win
- Mauricio Pochettino: 1 win
- Draws: 0
- Teams managed by Ten Hag: 5
- Teams managed by Pochettino: 4