Written by @nporter8
Mauricio Pochettino became Spurs manager in 2014, the best decision Daniel Levy has made in his time as Tottenham Chairman. This relatively young manager from Argentina was taken from Southampton a year and a half into his tenure, after leading them to their highest league position since the 1989-90 campaign. His style of play and distinct pressing had caught the attention, seemingly his only negative was his use of an interpreter. So with just 60 games under his belt at Southampton the call came from Tottenham and he became their head coach. At the time many in the media saw it as a gamble but Levy’s only concern was that he learned to speak English. In his first season he took Spurs to the league cup final and a fifth place finish in the league. His key successes were introducing more academy graduates to the first team. Harry Kane was his 1st accomplishment, he hit 21 league goals and the PFA Young Player award. He has gone on to introduce more and more club graduates and continues to give a youth a chance. Spurs frequently fielding teams with the youngest average age in the Premier League.
Pochettino has shaped the squad into his own image by getting rid of players who can’t or won’t buy into his system. Bringing in young, hungry and players willing to work for the team. Some players are totally unrecognisable under him and they have changed and improved so much that you couldn’t imagine a team sheet without them. Players such as Moussa Dembele, Danny Rose and Eric Dier have all had the Pochettino effect. Maybe unsurprisingly the defence has improved beyond recognition, consistently having one of the best defences in the league is an alien conception for most Spurs fans. The signing of Toby Alderweireld has played a massive part in this. The organisation and the ability to defend as a team is a winning combination. Being a no nonsense defender with over 5oo career appearances has enabled Pochettino to re-create a defensive unit, but to ensure that all his players contribute is a very difficult. This is where the squad must buy into his philosophy and trust that his instructions will bring success.
The 2015/16 season was an unbelievable season for Spurs, being involved in a title race and securing Champions League football. Pochettino’s plans all fell into place, he had the squad he wanted, the players were all pulling in the same direction and the fans believed in the team. His management skills reach every aspect of the club and include the fans, he has insured they feel part of the club and they back the players. A defining night and only a Spurs fan can explain why it meant so much was Chelsea away last season. It ended 2-2 but the fact that Spurs players had shown real passion and aggression and refused to be bullied, showed a real progression. Spurs were no longer a push over or as Gary Neville described them as having a soft centre, this is what the fans had been waiting for. Pochettino revealed he had spoken to Daniel Levy and he had said he was “proud” of the teams performance.
He is nearly 350 games into his managerial career and Spurs fans will hope he stays for the foreseeable future. He has expressed an interest in International management but for now is extremely happy with his job. If he remains at the helm Spurs have a very bright future. A new stadium on its way and a competitive squad, all is missing from his CV is some silverware that surely can’t be far away. The only second Argentine manager in English football after Osvaldo Ardiles maybe he was always destined to be a Tottenham great.
Spurs fans, what do you put Pochettino’s success down to? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Martin Hesketh