saint, sinner or winner

new head coach mauricio pochettino takes over at white hart lane and Benny The Ball looks at what we might expect to see change ...



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

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