While a cloud will always hang over Mauricio Pochettino’s time at Tottenham due to his failure to win any trophies, there is no denying that the Argentine’s spell in North London was a relative success.
The club came of age under the 48-year-old’s stewardship as they cemented themselves in the top four and became regulars in the Champions League.
The former Tottenham manager has been out of since departing the club back in November and is reported to be the current front runner to replace Quique Setien as the Barcelona manager should the Catalan giants fail to win the Champions League (Daily Mail).
Barca’s rumoured interest would suggest that Pochettino’s reputation is still high across Europe despite the way things ended for him at Tottenham.
The former Tottenham manager has insisted in an interview to El Pais that he was successful in achieving his objectives at Spurs as well as at Southampton.
Pochettino even claimed that he, along with Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers have helped change the mentality of English football.
Speaking about landing the job at St Mary’s, he said: “It was not easy because one of the first things the president told me was that he signed me because he wanted the team to play as the Dream Team. He showed us a video of that Barça. ‘This is my philosophy … Apply it!’
When asked what he thought about those demands, Pochettino responded: “That Messi, Xavi, Iniesta had to be brought … But the most beautiful thing and what remains is that with those young and English players – Clyne, Lambert, Jay Rodríguez, Prowse, Cork, Lallana, Shaw, Chambers – we started to propose a different football.
“In the second season, in November, we had the possibility to put ourselves first playing against Arsenal. That attracted attention. It was not the way to press but how we played from behind, with positional attack, retrieve the ball high and attack fast.
“It was a change of mentality and it was seen that the English could do it. I think together with Brendan Rodgers. We changed the mentality of English football a bit. And the arrival of Pep later cemented and settled everything because today, in any quarry in the world, what predominates is the capacity of that associative and positional game that has invaded world football.”
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Pochettino certainly has a point as I feel his success at Southampton, as well as Rodgers’ at Swansea, opened the door for other newly promoted and lower to mid-table clubs to give young, progressive managers a chance. While the elite clubs at the top were always going to pick the best managers in the world, Pochettino showed at Southampton that it is possible for smaller clubs to go toe to toe with better teams and get points on the board.
Previously we were seeing clubs hedge their bets on tried tested managers like Sam Allardyce to get themselves defensively organised and somehow get to 40 point mark. Recently, we have seen clubs like Brighton, Bournemouth, Southampton, Wolves and others opt for a more progressive approach and it has worked quite well for some of them despite their modest transfer spending.
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