‘Very different’ – Pochettino explains difference between Spurs and PSG job 

Mauricio Pochettino
FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino has outlined the difference in expectations at Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain, insisting that he does not have time to build a project with the Ligue 1 giants.

Pochettino had a slow start to life at Spurs after arriving at the club in the summer of 2014.

However, the team went from strength to strength over the course of his five and a half year spell at the club, competing for the Premier League title on two occasions and finishing runners up in the Champions League in 2019.

While the 49-year-old was not able to help Spurs get over the line and win silverware, the team improved considerably under his stewardship. 

Pochettino also got Tottenham playing a kind of front-footed, high energy, attacking football that was the envy of much of the Premier League.

However, the former Spurs boss has been criticised for not implementing a similar style in Paris. He has now answered his critics, explaining that the demands at PSG are to win every single trophy.

He told the print edition of L’Equipe (as relayed by Sport Witness): “When PSG come looking for you, it is so that you adapt to an existing structure, to the players recruited, to get what the club wants.

“What does PSG want? PSG want to win. Win the Champions League, the championship, the Cup, all matches.

“We didn’t come looking to build a project, asking what we needed to develop our ideas, or what we like. We came here to adapt and to win, with the structure and the characteristics of the players who are here. It’s very different.

“In fact, to that must be added the time to put them in place. Take Liverpool. This is a club that recruited a coach (Jürgen Klopp, in 2015), gave him the tools he wanted and gave him time.

“With Tottenham, we have always been in the fight, until the Champions League final (lost 2-0 against Liverpool in 2019), where you need a win. These are projects where there is time.

“At PSG, the project is to win and to win now. The adaptation of the staff is fundamental to finding the dynamic that will bring you results. Without results, you cannot hope to get to football that in the end we all want: we all want to play a good game, win 5-0, etc.”

Pochettino also talked about how Tottenham’s style of play kept evolving over the course of his stay in North London.

When asked about claims that his PSG side do not have a style of play, he responded: “I say this with great respect, but this question reflects a certain lack of respect. It’s like telling you that you don’t have style in your writing. Of course, you have one, you’re a professional and that’s why you’re sitting there.

“Every coach, at the highest level as an amateur, has a style. When you work to become a coach, you develop your style: your tastes, your management, your methods with your staff.

“We are a staff who has a defined style, a philosophy, ideas. Then the question is how and when you can implement what really suits you. And that depends on the requirements of the club, as we said earlier.

“If you look at what we have done at Espanyol, Southampton or Tottenham, you will see the style of play that we like. If you watch a game from our first and third seasons at Tottenham, it’s not the same. Because there was a strategy to get there.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I do think that the criticism PSG have been getting for their style of play is unfair. Pochettino was never going to be able to impose the high-pressing style that he is known for as the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar (and even Mbappe to an extent) are not going to hassle the opposition off the ball. 

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