|The appointment of Tottenham Hotspur's new Head
Coach Mauricio Pochettino has been met with a mixed reception.
Some pundits think it is a good appointment after
seeing what he achieved with Southampton, while other do not see
what more he has to offer over what Tim Sherwood could have done.
Some cruelly said Tottenham had appointed their new ex-manager.
However, there were aspects of Sherwood's approach
which no doubt had a bearing on Daniel Levy's decision to sack the
former Development Coach. One of the Words used in describing
Pochettino was dignified. That is a word that isn't an exact or
comfortable fit in a sentence containing Sherwood.
But beyond that, what has he achieved ? Well, he made his mark at
FCD Espanyol, where he got them into Europe and got a reputation for
playing good football and using players who had come through the
ranks. This was something he continued at St. Marys, honing the crop
of good young players into a side who were eighth in their second
Premier League season.
The downside was that he was sacked at Espanyol for poor results in
his fourth season there.
His style of football has won a lot of admirers in the game and the
Saints had some good results last season, such as wins at Liverpool
and Everton and draws with Arsenal and both Manchester sides.
However, they also got beaten by some duff sides. Using an
energetic approach to winning the ball and passing and moving, this
might boost Tottenham's game as the build up was painfully slow at
some points last season, under both managers. The team will need to
be fit to carry out the new boss' instructions and there are already
stories of his two sessions every day regime. This might help some
of our players as they would be more effective with quicker breaks
to find more space and get more goals. A pressing game is much
like that employed by Barcelona at their best, with players being
able to rotate their positions, which was what AVB was trying to
achieve, making it hard for opponents to pick up their markers, as
they didn't know where they were going to pop up.
Obviously, being an Argentine, it is hoped that he will be able to
bring the best out of Erik Lamela. I hope he can, as the winger has
been unfortunate with injuries, but I think that there is a very
good player in there, who could be a useful asset for Spurs.
Additionally, we have some very good players who need integrating
into the team. Kane, Pritchard, Bentaleb, Fredericks, Carroll,
Coulthirst and a number of others need nurturing and bringing
through to be members of the squad. If Mauricio can do this, he
might save or earn the club some money in doing so. Some of
his reputation has been based on his use of young players being
assimilated into the first team, so Levy would have had this in mind
when deciding the next man to take charge of the team. The
players themselves will look at what he has done for some of the
Saints boys and will hopefully be open to learning from Pochettino.
The Europa League might be the way to introduce them to the first
team, but with a Champions League place for the winners, this may be
a competition for some of the more experienced campaigners.
How well Pochettino does might be influenced by his relationship
with Franco Baldini. The Director of Football post has not always
been to every Spurs Head Coach's liking, but maybe the new one will
fit in with this system. His record of buys is limited at
Southampton, with Osvaldo being a troublesome waste of money, while
Wanyama has been blighted by injury and it remains to be seen if he
will turn out to be a decent purchase. Spurs need to spend wisely on
players to fill the positions that need strengthening.
A left back, a central defender and a forward are the commonly
quoted needs for this summer, but with Adam Lallana being tipped to
follow his manager from the South Coast to White Hart Lane, it might
mean someone has to make way for him in an area of the team where we
are deep in quality. Rumours of Lennon, Paulinho and Dembele
have surfaced, but that was before Poch was appointed. Poch's
list of who he wants to keep and let go might be very different to
that of Timmy's. His style of play will dictate those who
might be useful to him and the fitness element might rule some
players out of his thinking. We have quite a mobile midfield,
so they might actually fare quite well, but the likes of Chadli
might find his requirements demanding.
With not a lot of money (compared to last summer)
available to spend, Mauricio will have to make do with what he has
got or sell to buy, but with that money, he must fill the areas that
need strengthening and spend wisely. Too many changes might
make 2014-15 yet another transitional season, but the fact that he
negotiated some time to be able to mould the side shows that he
doesn't believe it can be achieved overnight and Levy needs to
realise this too.
Do we expect him to do a Brendan Rogers and propel
Spurs from 6th to top four straight away ?
One thing is sure, that unless he becomes very
successful, he will be sacked at some point.
So, until that time, will he be a saint (take
Spurs to eighth place in the table) ... a sinner (produce dull
football and mediocre success) ... or a winner (win things and
qualify for the Champions League) ??
Let's hope that he is successful as he must be
confident in taking this job on.
Benny The Ball