Pochettino putting the heart into White Hart Lane as Spurs surge
Matt Haynes | January 11, 2016
Mauricio Pochettino is slowly carving a reputation for himself as one of the best coaches and football managers in the game. Almost under the radar this season, the Argentinian is hitting highs unparalleled in terms of personal achievement.
Pertinent progress pertaining Pochettino’s promising plan
Since joining Tottenham from Southampton, the former Espanyol boss has taken the club from strength to strength, though crucially to chairman Daniel Levy and supporters, has re-organised the playing squad and gradually adopted a style of football befitting of great Spurs sides of old.
It takes a special kind of manager to sustain subservience, though the vast majority of Pochettino’s players have bought into the style he has propagated since his arrival at White Hart Lane. To get to where they are hasn’t been easy. He arrived with an expectance to make roughly £100m worth of talent gel, though his methods were subtle. While he did give every player a chance, he must have known within weeks who was going to fit into his grand plan.
Roberto Soldado, Vlad Chiriches, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela were all bought, and Pochettino must be given his due. While maintaining Spurs’ policy of bringing through youngsters, a strategy the Argentinian is an avid advocate of, he also gave former four a fair chance. Simply put, they weren’t convincing enough to promote Pochettino’s playing style and, since parting company with them the squad looks suitably streamlined.
Perhaps one the belated biggest success stories of those signings is Lamela. It is injudicious instigating that favouritism featured due to territorial ties, with both Pochettino and the attacker hailing from Argentina.
What maybe fair to say is that the 43-year-old has been somewhat of a father figure to the former Roma player who has blossomed this season, almost swashbucklingly showcasing his huge ability. Having previously been on the outside looking in, Lamela now has the world at his feet and is one of the key catalysts in this highly talented Spurs side.
Poch’s stock rising
Tottenham have emerged from nowhere this season on an upwards trajectory, transitioning into a side capable of challenging for the Premier League title. At 11/1 with Coral to win it this term, Spurs are third favourites and, just six points off first place and rivals Arsenal after 20 games, have a fighting chance.
One key attribute becoming swiftly associated with Pochettino is his knack for developing young talent, recognising when they are good enough to put into the first-team. Dele Alli, a precocious prodigy and quite possibly the brightest English player to come through the ranks in recent times. This lad has everything and even scored on his full England debut. It wasn’t just a goal either, more like a show-stopper.
No doubt the biggest example which highlights Pochettino’s knack for furnishing talent is his decision to propel Harry Kane into the first-team at the beginning of last season, initially in Europa League games. The striker applied swift supremacy to each opportunity he was given, becoming one of the most sought-after properties in Europe.
Pochettino’s defining characteristic though, is the very one that makes the world’s best managers. Man-motivational skills. Astonishingly, he has become one of the best at this, having only recently learned English. Upon arriving at Southampton, everything went through a translator, though, in his debut season with them led the Saints to their highest ever Premier League finish (eighth), with one of the most attractive styles of football in the English top-flight.
New summer signing, Kieran Trippier has spoken highly of his boss’s skills, vocalising evidence of Pochettino’s aura: “I just knew straight away I wanted to come here. He is an unbelievable manager. It was the way he said what he wanted from me, the expectations he had for me.
“I just didn’t have to think twice after I had met him. There was never a 50-50 choice. There were a couple of clubs who were interested but as soon as I sat down with the gaffer here, that was it. I had made my decision.”
Now, Manchester United could be about to come calling. News which has sky-rocketed him into the centre of the universe. Louis van Gaal’s Old Trafford tenure is likely to come to an end at the end of this campaign and Pochettino is being lined up for arguably the biggest job in the country, with odds of 16/1 for this to materialise.
Ed Woodward has made a catalogue of bad decisions since Sir Alex Ferguson left and this could well turn out to be his wisest. With Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin signed from Southampton in recent years, Pochettino would link up with two players he got the best out of while at the Saints.
Possessing paramount ambition, Pochettino doesn’t outwardly demonstrate this and is confident enough in his ability without making a show of it, as body language over the last two seasons suggests. Compared to previous successful winners of the Premier League; Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, the Argentinian in nature couldn’t be any different.
While exuding an inward self-assuredness and a mild-mannered demeanour, his obsequiousness massively belittles blowhard Jose Mourinho and the outspoken approach taken by Ferguson in his revered reign.
He now has a hard decision to make. Having always spoken about the fact that Spurs is a long term project and his overall goal is still developing, there is huge potential for this football club who can challenge the best over the next few years with a stadium to rival Old Trafford and the Emirates. Does he need to head north or can Spurs in time, become the next Man Utd under his esteemed stewardship?
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