Spurs Fans Must Remember Pochettino’s Progress

Pochettino's progress
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur gives instruction to Kieran Trippier of Tottenham Hotspur during The Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on April 21, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United was a hard one to take for Spurs fans. An eighth successive loss in FA Cup semi-final appearances had many fans reeling with anger and disappointment. The disappointment is justified. However, perhaps the reactions were not. Both Pochettino and Levy received hefty criticism. Pochettino for his pre-match comments playing the importance of the cup down, as well as leaving both Lloris and Alderweireld out of the team. Levy received even more criticism. Levy is said to be holding the club back due to insufficient funding given to Pochettino. However, fans must remember Pochettino’s progress at Tottenham.

Pochettino’s Progress Must be Respected

When analysing the criticism, it is important to look at the condition Spurs were in before the arrival of Pochettino. The 2013-14 season saw Spurs finish sixth. There were some notable results along the way. Spurs lost both North London derbies, also losing 4-0 and 5-0 in their games against Liverpool. Spurs also lost 5-1 and 6-0 to Manchester City, whilst also being thumped 4-0 Chelsea. Perhaps most shockingly, they lost 3-0 at home to West Ham. It’s fair to say that the club were significantly below the standard of the league’s top teams, both in terms of quality and mentality. The lack of quality is understandable when you look at the names within the squad. The bench Tim Sherwood selected for his final game in charge included Friedel, Soldado, Fryers, Pritchard, Bentaleb and Velikovic. There were also starting places for Kyle Naughton, Vlad Chiriches and Paulinho.

Pochettino’s Arrival

Pochettino’s arrival has resulted in continuous progression. The quality of the squad is on an entirely different level to the one he inherited. In addition, the mentality has changed. This season Spurs have beaten Arsenal, Chelsea (away!), Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Dortmund and drawn away at Juventus. Spurs are also odds-on to finish in the top four for a third successive season. This is all away from White Hart Lane, which provided form of 17 wins and two draws from 19 league matches last season. This is also without Walker, and largely without Rose and Alderweireld. This season was going to be a transitional one from the start. However, no one should discount the success Tottenham currently enjoys. Pochettino’s progress in North London is impressive.

Wasted Potential

The argument many Spurs fans are presenting is not that the club has had a poor season. Rather, that potential is being wasted. This is a view largely driven by the media, who persistently analyse the need for Spurs to win a trophy under Pochettino to be considered a success. Modern day media and the introduction of social media outlets, such as Twitter, have distorted the criteria for success. Trophies are important, of course. However, Spurs are now stable. This is real success. The new stadium will increase revenue and will attract players. The current squad’s value is up there with the elite in Europe. Champions league football is becoming a formality. Spurs also possess a manager of whom any young player in the world would be desperate to play under. Spurs are undoubtedly moving in the right direction and trophies will come.

Pushing On For Next Season

Whilst stability is here, it is time now to push on. By moving into the new stadium, Spurs are entering the next stage of the “project”. With the foundations set, Tottenham could reach the next level through investment. Arguably, Spurs are just one or two world class players away from seriously contending on all fronts. The club needs to invest. However, fans shouldn’t get too carried away. The £42m purchase of the 21-year-old centre back, Davinson Sanchez, shows Spurs are willing to spend. Yet thinking Spurs are financially capable of matching the spending of Manchester City or Manchester United is living in a fantasy world. The funds are simply not available. The earlier close of the transfer window will benefit Spurs, however. Tottenham should look to get deals done early to avoid another sloppy start to the season and continue Pochettino’s progress.

Taking Some Perspective

Ultimately, the club’s success under Pochettino has driven expectations to an all-time high. This isn’t necessarily a negative. High expectations keep the club from stagnating. However, when slating Levy and Pochettino, fans should remember we are entering the most exciting period of Spurs’ Premier League life. Fans were jubilant when Martin Jol delivered Europa League football. This would now be a disaster. Yes, Spurs haven’t won a trophy for another year. Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t win a trophy for three years at Manchester United. Establishing a quality team built for longevity takes time. Simply piling money in gaining initial success isn’t always the best model. Just look at the damage Mourinho has left behind at a number of clubs.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. A very thoughtful article.
    The talk of winning a trophy is one that sadly isn’t going to go away. Whilst Pochettino has taken Spurs forward and the progression from mid table nobody’s to top four regulars has been impressive. I don’t know whether the issue when it comes to winning a trophy is mentality or not but when we have played so well against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, United, Dortmund, Juventus and Real Madrid, I have often felt that the pressure has been slightly off. I know that they may seem a strange comment to make but against Juventus and Madrid it seemed as if Spurs getting anything was going to be a bonus. The players relaxed more, were far more expressive and played some of the best football in those games.
    Yet come the semi final, the first twenty minutes aside, everyone froze, Poch included and that is something he needs to learn from. It isn’t just with Spurs he hasn’t won anything – he hasn’t won anything as a manager yet.

    He has raised expectations to a point where we, as Spurs fans, have hoped for success and now demand it, expect it and are angry when it doesn’t happen.
    Pochettino’s work with young players is brilliant and I am certain that one say he may be looked at as being a potential England manager.

    Where I feel the need to urge caution is around finishing in the top four this season because that is not a given and in some ways will be a huge test of this squad and the manager. We have seen them bounce back against odds several times and that is down to the mettle Poch has given this Spurs team.
    This is no time for slip ups and not qualifying for the Champions League next season would be a disaster – players will come to play for a great young manager and a great new stadium that is in the Champions League but one not in the Champions League and that will change very quickly.

    The progression has been and is superb so far – now Poch has to take this club to the next level next season – no silverware next season would be worrying and nobody wants Poch to go down in history as the ’nearly man.’ That lies partly in his hands, but heavily in the hands of Daniel Levy.

    As ever, Come on You Spurs!

  2. When does progression become success though. Quantatively, we have been successful in moving from mid table mediocrity to a regular top four team providing we achieve that this season. But Poch can’t keep saying we are aiming for the title or champions league every season if we don’t win anything at all.
    Sometimes a lesser trophy, although I don’t see any trophy as being lesser, starts that winning mentality.
    And for Spurs it has to start very soon because saying we aiming for success sounds great. Not winning anything says otherwise.

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