Alderweireld opens up on Spurs ‘golden generation’ and Mauricio Pochettino

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Toby Alderweireld
Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Toby Alderweireld has opened up on playing for Tottenham during the Mauricio Pochettino era, and claimed winning the Champions League would have been the perfect achievement for the side’s ‘golden generation’. 

The Belgium international left North London in the summer to join Qatari outfit Al-Duhail after six great seasons with Spurs.

Alderweireld joined in 2015 and went on to make 236 appearances for the club, becoming a vital cog in the Pochettino machine that pushed for back-to-back Premier League titles and reached a club-first Champions League final. 

Defeat in Madrid in 2019 proved to be a crucial turning point in Tottenham’s trajectory, sending the club way off course, and eventually leading to Pochettino’s sacking at the hands of Daniel Levy just a few months later. 

Pochettino’s ethos was always to build a team with energy and zero fear, and Alderweireld believes the Champions League crown would have been the cherry on top for the Argentine’s side, which was crafted with very minimal spending. 

In an interview with the Evening Standard, he said: “That would have been the trophy for our golden generation.

“With the money we spent – almost nothing – and the way we played, it would have been an unbelievable achievement, especially if you saw the teams we beat. 

“Afterwards the tank was empty. After a couple of seasons, it was one too many. When I look back now, we needed a bigger break to really have the desire to go again. The disappointment was too fresh.

“It was the same for everyone, even Poch. A manager’s career is different but the opportunity of Champions League Finals is [rare]. 

“I know for sure he loves Spurs, even to this day, and to achieve it with the club at the time would have been maybe the biggest achievement ever in Spurs’ history. So it’s logical. He needed time to refresh himself and get the desire to go again.”

Alderweireld also talked about the coaching methods Pochettino used during his six-year stint in North London, and praised the way in which he created a tight-knit group that was hungry to achieve success together. 

He added: “The team was so close. You get close because the Pochettino way is not the easy way. You work so hard every day. Days off are very, very rare.

“You get the same as the army really. You get angry but you get fitter, you get better. Train on, train off! You do it and it creates a group, like, ‘Let’s do it together’. So that was the feeling, especially in the seasons with Leicester, Chelsea, the Champions League.

“Then some players go and some players come and it needs redoing. Sometimes you need chemistry that works. I’m not saying it didn’t work but we have to be honest. The group we had then was a very special group of friendship.”

Spurs Web Opinion 

Alderweireld was a smooth operator for such a long time in a Spurs shirt and a player we appreciate more now that he has left.

He would be correct in saying a Champions League crown would have been the best achievement in the club’s history and would have epitomised the side Pochettino created. 

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