The two will be in opposing dug-outs when Manchester United travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The Spurs boss has been linked with succeeding the Dutchman at Old Trafford (via ITV) as he has enjoyed a wonderful season taking Tottenham into the title picture in the Premier League while van Gaal has struggled to live up to his reputation with the Red Devils and is in danger of missing out on the top four.
Despite his difficult times with United however, Pochettino has insisted that he will always look up to van Gaal as he deserves to be considered as one of the best.
"I need to show respect because when I was a player he was a manager at Ajax and Barcelona and his background is amazing and was one of the references as a young coach. You always see Van Gaal when you were a player and how he was, always helping the younger players, I think he is one of the best in the history of managers," he told ITV.
As Pochettino alluded to, van Gaal has always been willing to give youngsters an opportunity to prove themselves in the first-team, famously guiding an Ajax team full of exciting prospects to Champions League success in 1995.
And that strategy appears to have inspired the way that the Argentinian has approached turning Spurs from top four contenders and into title candidates. The squad he has put together consists of a handful of experienced players, but has many younger players proving just as important to the team's philosophy while the next crop of prospects are already knocking on the door.