Tottenham Hotspur confirmed today that Mauricio Pochettino will be taking over the managerial hot seat on a five-year deal. The highly regarded Argentine left Southampton for pastures new & develops a highly talented, young squad in need of some leadership and identity.
Pochettino joined Southampton in January 2013 after the slightly controversial dismissal of fan favourite Nigel Adkins, who steered the Saints to back-to-back promotions from League 1 to the Premier League in a very successful stint as manager.
However, Adkins’ sacking paved the way for the young and forward-thinking Pochettino to try his hand at introducing some of the style and swagger that his mentor Marcelo Bielsa implemented on several of his successful sides in South America and in Europe.
However, as is becoming the case in the modern game; when the big boys come calling, they’re very hard to turn down. The appointment of Pochettino also brings a change to the system at Spurs, with chairman Daniel Levy hoping to bring back some of the guile that saw Spurs reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League under the guidance of Harry Redknapp.
Pochettino, however, has a more structured approach to each game, analysing each opponent in depth to find out just how best to break them down. His sides are well known for their fluid passing game, playing out for the back and the aesthetically pleasing nature of football that is put on show for the fans. It is a style that many of the White Hart Lane faithful have been craving for years, what with Villas-Boas’ slower approach to games and attempting to bore or tire his opposition and Tim Sherwood’s slightly long ball approach that saw Emmanuel Adebayor enjoy a rich vain of form from December until May.
Two managers that Pochettino has been compared to are Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez. Less so to do with playing style, both Merseyside teams took a risk in appointing a young manager that had been successful with ‘smaller’ teams. In the 2013/14 season, both these risks happened to pay off with Liverpool’s small squad exceeding expectations to finish 2nd & their Merseyside rivals Everton ending up 5th – which, according to recent reports, could grant them a Champions League spot if two Ukrainian sides are found guilty of match fixing.
Other managers linked to the job were Ajax’s Frank de Boer & Napoli’s Rafael Benitez. De Boer’s numerous successes with Ajax are unquestionable but this has been done in a league in which Ajax are expected to dominate. Benitez’s CV is unrivalled by the other candidates but his playing style may not be taken to by the difficult to please fans at White Hart Lane. It is clear that Levy’s number one criteria for recruitment was the style of play.
Now that Pochettino has been given the job, after months of uncertainty, it is up to the board – namely Daniel Levy – to stand by him. When faced with times of difficulty, he must not look for a quick exit and hit the panic button. Instead, give the new manager time to implement his ways & find a winning pattern. He has a fantastic squad, in need of a signing or two two take it to the next level.
It is also up to the fans to welcome Pochettino with open arms. Instead of recreating the hostile atmosphere Villas-Boas had to endure, give the boss time to find his feet & a winning formula.
Lastly, I’d like to wish Mr Pochettino all the best in his new challenge. You’re now at a massive club – full of pride, history and heritage. Bask in the glory and bring silverware back to N17. Best of luck to you, Mauricio Pochettino.
Can’t Smile Without You!