Watford boss Javi Gracia has hailed Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino as one of the best coaches in the Premier League and an influence on foreign managers in England.
The Hornets travel to Wembley on Monday night to take on Pochettino’s Spurs but are on a poor run of form – especially away from home.
Gracia was appointed as Marco Silva’s replacement on January 21 and has yet to see his side score an away goal during his tenure.
While Watford are safe from relegation, they have taken only two points from their last six Premier League outings.
Gracia is likely to come under pressure in the summer if that run continues and the Spaniard will be keen to break his duck at the home of a manager he holds deep respect for.
“I know Pochettino,” he said.
“He played in Spain and then coached at Espanyol. I know his backroom staff also as I was with Jesus Perez in the same team.
“The level of Pochettino for me is high and Tottenham have shown this season and in the past, even though they have not won the Champions League or other competitions
“But for me he is one of the best coaches I think at the moment. He is up there with (Arsene) Wenger and (Rafael) Benitez. They are important coaches that are very good.”
Gracia managed in Spain, Greece and Russia before being appointed at Vicarage Road but he came to the Premier League without a huge reputation – similar to Pochettino when he was initially announced as Southampton boss in 2013.
“I think seeing his work and how well he has done is very important,” Gracia replied when asked if Pochettino’s success acts as inspiration.
“I think all the coaches that have done a good job, like Pochettino, are a good influence for the rest of the foreign coaches.”