The Silent genius turned Southampton from a place-holder to a genuine European football team, and now he’s turning Tottenham into genuine title contenders, how far can he go in the managerial game?
The unassuming former centre-back has taken his no nonsense approach to playing the game into his coaching-career. Letting his football do the talking, Pochettino has an uncanny ability to create a culture of belief and an environment of winning in a short period of time.
He took the reins at Southampton in January of 2013 from Nigel Adkins. This change came as a surprise to many as Adkins had guided the team to a double promotion in two years. He had them playing good football and had no reason to lose his job. However, the board wanted more, and they entrusted Pochettino with that job.
He did just that, in his first full season in charge, he guided The Saints to a record Premier League finish of 8th. He turned them into a consistent, ball-playing, youth-developing and goal scoring outfit. They played attractive football and the big name signings began to follow as a result.
Not only did his influence garter the attention of star players, but also the big clubs. Headed-hunted by many a club across Europe, he ended up signing on as Tottenham’s manager in 2014. This marked the Spurs 10th manager in 12 years. With a team of over-priced players who were severely under-performing, he wasnt short of a tough task.
Undertaking a serious fire sale of talent, Pochettinno moved on failures; Jake Livermore (£8 million), Sandro (£6 million), Ezekiel Fryers (£5 million), Kyle Naughton (£5million), Paulinho (£9.9 million) & Lewis Holtby (£4.4 million) for a sizable total of; £38.3 million, he replaced substandard players with quality young stars and those proven talents choc-full of experience.
He then brought in; Ben Davies (£10 million), Michel Vorm (£5 million), Eric Dier (£4 million), Dele Alli (£5 million), Kevin Wimmer (£4.3 million) and Kieran Trippier (£3.5 million.
The hallmark of Pochettino’s astute eye for talent will be the purchase of Dele Ali and the promotion of Harry Kane at the expense of Roberto Soldado. Alli has been a revelation in the heart of the midfielder for Tottenham this season. His ability to play the ball and make dangerous runs into the box has seen him net 7 goals in his young career.
Harry Kane’s promotion also shows Pochettino’s smarts. Much more willing to die by the sword, he usurped a previously proven striker on a big money deal for an English youngster who, if he performed would be under immense scrutiny. However, the gamble has more than paid off, Kane has 45 goals in 76 games.
The willingness to blood youth has injected Tottenham with an unseen vigor and touch which has seen them play with a belief and quality on second to Leicester. Pochettino’s attitude is very similar to that of Ranieri’s – don’t be afraid to make mistakes. He instilled this in Southampton, and it bore results, and now it’s happening with Tottenham.
Play it forward. Play both sides of the ball as a team and under no circumstance do you stop running. A simple philosophy which is getting results. A fearlessness which is refreshing the league built on the immediacy of results.
Ultimately it’s hard to know where Pochettino will end up on the scale of managerial greatness when it’s all said and done, but one thing is for sure, there will not be a shortage of suitors coming for him to mould their club into such successes.