How exactly they have judged his tenure even though he hasn’t won anything thus far remains laughable, to some that is. On the other hand, this is Spurs, what exactly do they win? No disrespect but that was how Tottenham was looked at, “not won the league since the inception of colour TV”, “never finish above Arsenal”, that one especially being the most demeaning, “St. Totteringham day” Arsenal fans call it.
The narrative though has changed “he” – Mauricio Pochettino, has come to the club and given them a new lease of life, pulled them out of the doldrums and led them to punching above their meagerly weights. It’s not just Spurs anymore is it? It is SPURS.
Mauricio Pochettino walked into the Tottenham job at a time where it was quite the poisoned chalice – ten managers in 12 years up until that point, they were notorious for that sort of thing. The future of the club looked bleak to say the least especially for a team that had so much potential. Poch had his doubters but the job he did at Southampton spoke for itself; an eighth-placed finish since 02-03 and a highest points tally since the Premier League began. He was at the time not the obvious pick but a sensible one.
Tottenham had sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for 86m a world record at the time and the onus fell on Andre Villas-Boas to rebuild as it were. 7 players were bought including, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli only 2 remain to this day – Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, AVB even barely lasted a year, the club’s purchases in that market were quite frankly littered with flops apart from the latter and this made Pochettino’s job all the more difficult.
It however only took Poch two seasons to challenge for the title playing a brand of football that won the hearts of many, an effective 4-2-3-1 system that built from the back and relied heavily on pressing the opponents into submission while working the ball quickly into the box as soon as they gain possession. That 15-16 season was famed for Leicester City’s fairytale triumph but it was Tottenham Hotspur that gave them some sort of challenge; a mightily impressive feat for the lily-whites at the time.
Pochettino’s greatest achievement is perhaps the unearthing of Harry Kane and the absolute peach of a striker he has become. Eyebrows were raised in that 14-15 season when Poch started to field Harry Kane ahead of Roberto Soldado but the Englishman has since and continues to justify his manager’ s faith in him. Harry Kane is one of if not the best striker in the world at the moment and he has been the arrowhead of Pochetino’s impressive Tottenham teams over the past few years.
Dele Alli and Eric Dier were also given the chance that year and they have gone on to prove their worth for club and country since their debuts. Pochettino’s track record for developing the youth has been widely heralded, most of the players he’s gone on to develop have gone on to greater heights, that dates back to his time at Espanyol through to Southampton and now at Spurs, that’s one of his more impressive traits.
The work the Argentinian tactician has done at the North London club has certainly caught the eye over the years, the Manchester United United’s and Real Madrid’s of this world have all expressed interest in him, but his commitment to the cause has been unshakable in spite of the stringencies in the job. On 24th May 2018, Pochetino signed a new five-year contract keeping him at the club until 2023.
Tottenham aren’t the richest, in fact they didn’t spend a dime this season and that’s mainly because of their impending move to their new stadium which in itself has been pushed back a few times over the years, but, they do hold on to their best players and that’s largely down to the belief they have in their manager and his tactics. Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and co have all been linked with moves away from the club but they have eventually stayed put, the core of the team have been together for quite a while now and that’s one of the reasons they have been able to rub shoulders with the best in England.
On Monday Tottenham Hotspur come against Manchester City, a team Pochettino describes as “on another level”, “the best team today in England” he says, of course you wouldn’t argue with that assertion, no one would. Pep’s defending champions are unbeaten in nine, brushing teams aside and continuing from where they left off last season. In Spurs case it has long been said that these are the games they need to win in order to make a statement, they in fact have had a lid on City for some time now up until last season where they were brushed aside twice in the league with Pep calling City’s display at the Etihad their most impressive of the last campaign.
Pochettino’s side have had their best ever start to a Premier League season, not many would have imagined this especially with how their transfer window went, that’s Poch punching above his weight once more. He admits they are not playing as well as they’d like and their UCL campaign is certainly testament to that fact so they’ll certainly have to be at it to even have a chance against the mighty Citizens but Poch has however beaten Pep before and so if any manager could do it is certainly him.