The main reason Mauricio Pochettino’s reputation in the game is still sky-high, despite failing to guide Tottenham to silverware during his five and half years at the club, is because of how much the North Londoners improved under his watch.
The club were going through a difficult time when the Argentine arrived as they had finished in sixth place the previous season in a tumultuous campaign that saw Andre Villas-Boas being sacked and Tim Sherwood being handed the reins.
Spurs looked as though they were falling further and further away from their goal of becoming an established top-four side, after looking pretty close to achieving it during the Harry Redknapp years.
It is fair to say that there were doubts about Pochettino during his first year at the club as the team still failed to produce consistent results.
The team’s fortunes seemed to change after the 48-year-old decided to freeze out the infamous ‘bomb squad’, which consisted of the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Etienne Capoue, Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Aaron Lennon, and give opportunities to the likes of Ryan Mason and Harry Kane.
Pochettino has now opened up on the challenges he faced during his initial days at Tottenham and how he managed to implement his ideas despite facing resistance.
When asked about implementing his high-pressing style, the former Spurs boss said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football (as relayed by Football.London): “I think we spent a little bit more time than we did at Southampton.
“Southampton was different to Tottenham, and of course, when we arrived at Tottenham, the circumstances were completely different.
“Tottenham was a team with 33 players, was a team that was trying to create some identity and that was why they hired maybe a young coaching staff and manager and to try and develop different ways to approach the games.
“In the same way I am talking about Nicola and Southampton, but for us, Tottenham was an amazing job, more than five years that we really enjoyed from day one.
“All the people and the staff there that were helping from day one, to us, to help us be successful. Then, the players, they were amazing too.
“We had a group with different habits, the players were not responsible for the habits they adopted, it’s always who leads the club. Then, you need to create the line from the top and to be strong in your principle and the way you’re going to develop and lead the way things happen.
“That was amazing, to have this facility, to feel free to create something special in Tottenham, that was amazing. Then, of course, in all change, it’s always painful, but when you arrive at a new club, you need to make some changes.
“If you arrive at the beginning, it’s easier, but if you arrive in the middle, the same, you need to start to build and that’s why it’s so important to create a big platform and that’s what we really believe.
“For the coaching staff, it’s about building the platform where the players can feel comfortable and can improve. It’s so important.”
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