Why Mauricio Pochettino would be perfect for Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

With confirmation that Tim Sherwood is to be replaced as Head Coach at Tottenham finally coming, newspapers and bookmakers list Southampton’s young Argentine Mauricio Pochettino as favourite to take over. Enjoying many years as a player at Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland and Spanish club Espanyol, where football comes packaged as philosophical debate, Pochettino has gone on to enjoy a successful start to his management career – with close to four years at Espanyol followed by his current job, at a resurgent Southampton.

Tottenham face a testing few years. It is widely expected that confirmation of the building of a new stadium will arrive this summer and, as such, the majority of club revenue for the foreseeable future will need to be poured in to that project. The club will be required to work on a slim transfer budget in coming years, placing greater emphasis on the development of the current squad through progressive coaching, and on the integration of players from the club’s development squads in to the first team.

Mauricio Pochettino has demonstrated both the ability to improve players and a faith in youth in his previous managerial roles. At Espanyol he took over a team struggling at the foot of La Liga and secured three mid-table finishes, handing first team debuts to a dozen youth players in the process. At Southampton the integration of exciting young talent continued, with Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Callum Chambers becoming regular starters, and established players such as Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez making such improvements they all became England internationals during Pochettino’s tenure.

Tottenham’s need for this same type of improvement and youth integration is significant. After spending close to £100 million last summer on seven players who have struggled to adapt to the Premier League, Pochettino could be trusted to get the best from these individuals. Under his tutelage the club’s forgotten man, his Argentinian compatriot and one of world football’s greatest young talents, Erik Lamela, could become a key player. The club’s focus on youth development in recent years has several players ready for first team football – Andros Townsend, Harry Kane, Tom Carroll, Nabil Bentaleb, Milos Veljkovic and Alex Pritchard are all pushing for more football. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Lewis Holtby – the club’s most creative players – are all under 23. With the right management all have the potential to play at the highest level and Pochettino would make the development and integration of these players his priority over the signing of new players.

Pochettino’s tactical approach is one that would sit well with Tottenham’s ethos. The club have a tradition of playing attractive, attacking football but have not always managed that in recent times – notably, something Chairman Daniel Levy mentioned in his ‘Chairman’s Message’ just a few days ago.

A high-pressing game learned from mentor Marcelo Bielsa, a high defensive line and an emphasis on quick transitions are the key elements of Pochettino’s preferred style. His teams aim to win the ball high up the field and attack at pace, catching the defending team off guard. Pep Guardiola once said of Pochettino’s Espanyol in an interview with the Guardian: “There are teams that wait for you and teams that look for you: Espanyol look for you. I feel very close to their style of football.”

His Southampton team are regarded as one of the easiest on the eye in the Premier League. A strong defensive base offers more technical players the opportunity to express themselves, with self belief and attacking flair encouraged. The defensive work of his attacking midfielders high up the pitch is something that would suit hard working players such as Gyfli Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby, and other similarities between Southampton’s style and Tottenham’s personnel suggest a squad ready to take Pochettino’s ideas on board. Full back’s Rose and Walker are both quick, good going forward and have the stamina for the rigorous demands of the system. Sandro and Capoue would offer solidity in front of the back four, Jack Cork’s box to box midfield performances are something both Dembele and Paulinho excel at, and the wealth of attacking midfielders and wide players at the club would offer flexibility going forward. Soldado, Adebayor and Harry Kane are all strong, technical forwards akin to Rickie Lambert.

Another positive of Pochettino’s style is that it demands hard work from every player, in turn helping build team spirit and commitment – something which has been absent at Tottenham this past season. This appointment would help eradicate the sort of lacklustre performances and lack of concentration referenced by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris when he commented in an interview with the Telegraph that “this season we had sometimes the feeling that we gave up. We can’t allow this kind of behaviour. We have to show more character.”

It’s clear that whoever is appointed to succeed Tim Sherwood must be afforded the support not only of the players, but also of the fans and the board. Mauricio Pochettino’s appointment would mark a return to the so-called ‘project’ management of the Villas-Boas era, something that can only work if patience is employed by all invested parties – a lesson Tottenham can learn from Liverpool’s success this season after a slow start under Brendan Rodgers. Indeed, the successes of Rodgers and another similarly minded young manager, Roberto Martinez, after moves from lower profile clubs to a pair of the countries biggest, demonstrates how astute an appointment Maurcio Pochettino could be for Tottenham.

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  1. Really want pocchetino to be given the job he has prem experience and plays attractive football. Pocch seems to be very intelligent with his team selection his tactics and the understanding of the games especially with his subs I’m very impressed how he had the saints playing his style of football so quickly ,Rodgers it took 2 years pocch did it in a season . The other candidates like Benitez acnelotti these managers are more man managers with no specific philosophy and when you compare with the likes of wenger,guardiola,ferguson,mourhinho who in turn each have a specific style of play they seem like duds . So pocch for me is the new wenger,guardiola,ferguson in many ways.

    • EXACTLY. A bit Moyes-ish in that he is a manager that can get a foot of the table team, to perform well enough to get to mid-table but there isn't any winning pedigree. Could be wrong as he seems intelligent and brave enough to try new things but when there De Boer is there, a proven winner with a clear footballing philosophy that 2 of our best players have prospered in, I don't think he is the right chance.

      • My thinking exactly. One big worry I have after watching Pochettino's teams is they have a terrible tendency to fade in the final quarter of games as his high intensity tactics exhaust the players. And I've had quite enough of watching Dawson play a high line, thank you. They do play pretty football early on though. I'd much rather have proven winner De Boer than a man who has made sides expected to struggle reach mid-table safety. And Poch has only had one good season in the PL: after one season Laudrup was going to be the next big thing and look what happened to Swansea this season.
        I'm not totally against Pochettino but I'd much rather have De Boer.

  2. You would have to get the whole squad to buy into his coaching.. It means working harder, no prima donnas, sounds good, but it demands players have character.. Have the present squad got that character?

  3. Breaking News; Spurs are so confident of landing Mauricio Pochettino, they're already looking for his replacement.

  4. So you want to see the appointment of a manager that finished two places below Tim Sherwood this season (that’s below, not above) and lost twice to him this season letting in 6 goals in the process. Child. Go back to the nursery and talk to me when you’ve grown up.

    Alan Sugar started the nonsense by sacking Terry Venables just when he had finally put together a great team and was enjoying success on the pitch. Then Levy comes along and as if in a parody of a fool tries to outdo him. How many managers has he gone through now. It tells you that at his very best he has appalling judgement if he thinks sacking them shortly after appointing them was necessary. The man needs to be sacked himself. If I come across another moron who comes out with the imbecilic: ‘in Levy we trust’ I shall personally throttle him. Man and boy I’ve supported this club but now I just don’t care for it any longer. It’s a ship of fools and as long as idiots run it I shall step back and reflect on the days when I use to stand on the terraces and watch the great Bill Nicholson put together one of the greatest club sides this country has seen. It all seems so long ago now. Incidentally, Spurs finished 18th in Billy Nicks first season in charge.

    • Brendan Rogers finished below Pool, but that seem to have worked out OK. I don't think that's a good criterion to use. That being said, I still would have preferred FdB.

  5. lol c'mon u spurs our goal stats awful 2 x new strikers priority top drawer lift players team spirit confidence fans happy days nous guile goals glory! like mauricio pochettino roberto martinez or cesare prandelli proven ability new manager magic! goals galore lol.

  6. Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham? Perhaps that's how far we've fallen that we don't even aim fort a half decent manager any more. Maybe we should consider that bloke Sherwood? – after all he's won things as a player and beaten Pochettino's Southampton twice this season and he's available, Oh hang on a minute…we've just sacked him. If the limit of our ambition is mid-table then why not make every West Ham supporter happy and ask about fat Sam's availability? It seems bizarre that as far as I can work out there are only about 17 people left in the world who don't speak a word of English and in recent years we've employed two of them as managers here and now we're looking to employ a third. For me it's PochettiNOOOO!!!! (please add Moyes, Martinez and Benitez to the list of names to not be on the list too)

  7. He has never won a thing so isn't a proven winner. Improving players is all well and good but can he win things? Tim Sherwood a beginner neat Southampton twixe and scored 6 goals against them!

  8. No no no no

    Is this the best we can do? Its like appointing avb all over again. His defence is a shambles and his signings all failed, all the good kids were already there. Has to be de boer or benitez. This bloke is a joke.

  9. Pochettino is the best choice. I get the feeling De Boer is AVB 2.0, having dominated a crap league. Our players were demoralized and confused, spending half a season with a system that didn't fit, and the other half with no system at all. Sherwood's wins came because of sheer talent, with one player leading the way on a given day. The losses came against teams (West Ham) with systems, and the heavy losses came against sides with talent AND systems. The harshest criticism of Timmy Tactics's reign of error will come next year, when MoPo get so much more out of basically the same squad.

  10. i would go for rafa as no1…while his football can be a bit on the boring side he knows how to win trophies and get the best out his teams..he also has a tried and prove track record in the premier league/champions league and is still only quite young. really pochettino has had just one decent season…Southampton will probably be relegation fodder next year.def rafa 1 for me 2 de boer…!!!

  11. Pochettino would be perfect for Levy and ENIC , that does not mean he is perfect for the Fans, our fans still think we are the mighty Spurs and have not yet noticed we are second tier Spurs paying second tier wages, in a second tier stadium and only able to attract second tier players, when the whole fan base wakes up like I have that Levy is building a property portfolio before they sell out and not investing on the pitch (700k net spend a season) and is spouting off about top 4 to keep the idiot fans on side who believe we are trying so hard to be a massive outfit only then will we all come down to the real world and accept Pochettino is the perfect fit..

  12. Whoever gets the job, one thing assured is that there will be a bunch of morons on the terraces boo-ing him from day1.

  13. Interesting feedback on both sides of the argument – some more reasonable than others! I have to say, given the 900 words above, that Pochettino would be my preferred choice but I'd be happy with Frank De Boer or Rafa Benitez because whatever happens, and whoever comes in, the most important thing now is that every fan gets behind him and the team next season. The worst things about this season for me was the lack of connection I felt with the club and their actions and the divide between fans that caused.

  14. Is poch the best we aspire too yet again,Levy trying to do it cheaply you get what you pay for,many fans won’t be behind Poch from the start,go on Levy push the boat out and get us the world class manager (Rafa) that we need


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