Mauricio Pochettino is a flexible manager willing to experiment and tinker with his side. His team are still unbeaten in the Premier League due to his solid substitutions.
Mauricio Pochettino Substitutions Spot On For Tottenham
Most recently, his changes allowed Tottenham to come back and win 3-2 against West Ham United on Saturday. In this match, Harry Winks made his debut. This was the result of careful development via substitute cameos. In general, Pochettino gives cameos to youth players so that they can taste first team football and develop their game.
A final factor to consider in how effective Pochettino’s substitutions are is his squad depth. With the current injury crisis, the depth has been limited which lessens his ability to make significant substitutions.
At half-time, it seemed as though Spurs had been thwarted by the West Ham defence. The likes of Harry Redknapp and Glenn Hoddle all advised a change. They believed that Spurs lacked width and needed to introduce the likes of Heung-Min Son. To their disappointment, Pochettino did not change his side at half-time. But his team suddenly began to forge chances.
Soon enough, a chance fell to Harry Winks, who scored his first senior goal for the club. This seemed to justify Pochettino’s decision to stick to his current tactics and personnel. However, after Vincent Janssen gave up a cheap penalty, the active decision to bring in Son (changing to a 4-2-3-1 formation) produced great success.
Without the introduction of Son, Spurs may have never turned the West Ham match around. Son’s pace and skill allowed him to infiltrate the resistant defence, setting up both of Harry Kane’s goals. Therefore, Pochettino deserves credit for the ability to change match dynamics with his substitutions. He shows that he is able to make critical substitutions at the right time.
Substitutions made late in the match aren’t just for running down the clock. Whilst made up of ten minutes here and there, these are crucial minutes for young players. This is because it helps them adapt to first team football. Winks’ cameos allowed him to develop and therefore start against West Ham.
However, many managers often give cameos to young players without starting them in first team matches. It is too often that young, English players are overshadowed by foreign superstar signings. Instead, it is Pochettino’s knowledge and belief in the likes of Winks that allows true youth development at the club. It is refreshing to see a manager that is prepared to rely on his domestic assets.
Tottenham’s squad depth affects how much change Pochettino can actually bring about with his substitutions. On the one hand, youth players may benefit in the place of injured senior players. But, on the other hand, senior players have the needed experience to change a match.
The striker position is still lacking in depth. Having an experienced goalscorer on the bench would really benefit the club. In recent years, the likes of Jermain Defoe would prove to be a match-changing substitution. His direct attacking style would help to convert possession into chances, shots and goals. Therefore, if Pochettino had deeper squad depth, he would have more scope for stirring up stagnant games or for recovering from losing positions.
Substitutions are a key part of any football match. Fortunately for Spurs, they have an adept manager capable of making key changes at critical times. In addition, he is bringing up youth players by giving them important minutes, which sets up his first team for the road ahead. Pochettino is inspiring success for the present, but also for the future with his well-evaluated substitutions.