Losing the Champions League final is an empty experience. This is especially the case for a plucky Tottenham Hotspur side that always defeated the odds to turn previous ties around. With the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in Madrid, there has been a maelstrom of reaction from fans. The most reactionary of opinions glumly mumble something about ‘same old Spurs’. However, a more progressive approach suggests that getting to the final in the first place was a massive achievement. Spurs spent nothing in the last two transfer windows, and yet knocked out Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Ajax. With more investment, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur project could finally provide some silverware for the club.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur Project Must Be Continued
Pochettino Not Finished Yet
Prior to the match, Pochettino had hinted at potentially seeking a new challenge if he was to achieve the seemingly impossible with Spurs. Furthermore, in the post-match conference, there were journalists who inappropriately and disrespectfully probed him on his future at the club. He responded as any manager would. “It’s too early to talk a lot now, so early,” adding “we need to assimilate that defeat.”. Nothing can really be read into from these words except that naturally, the manager and the board need to sit down and discuss the future.
It is likely that Pochettino will want to raise certain issues if he did choose to stay at the club. There needs to be an investment in the squad this summer. There are a few weak areas that need bolstering, and in general, the squad needs some experienced winners. He made it clear, though, that the motive behind the notion of possibly leaving Spurs if they won the Champions League was due to exceeding expectations with his current resources. He now has a greater pull to stay since he still has work left to do.
Merits of the Project
It is easy to forget the highs and lows of the entire season after losing the final. Furthermore, it is rather easy to suggest that Spurs haven’t won any silverware and thus have failed to make any progress. It is wrong to measure progress without any recent comparison. Before Pochettino arrived at the club, Tottenham were a disorganised and dispirited side in the modern era. He rejuvenated the club, galvanised it into becoming a title-chasing and Europe conquering team.
The club has vastly improved its infrastructure with the world-class new stadium and training facilities. During this period of transition, the targets were merely to maintain and to stay competitive. Spurs have gone above and beyond that this season. They may not have the resources to compete on all fronts, but to get to the Champions League final was absolutely commendable.
Looking ahead from this European defeat, there is some hope. Now is the time for the club to, like Liverpool, invest more in the squad over the summer and bounce back again next year. The board must support Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur project, or else it will collapse and he will move on and build a new one with another club. Indeed, it will take some impressive signings and may result in one or two favourite faces departing.
Despite the disappointment and heartbreak in Madrid, Spurs have triumphed with their own unique philosophy. A philosophy that doesn’t revolve around throwing the cheque book at a whole second 11 of players. A club that has developed its own in the likes of Harry Kane and Harry Winks. This is a club that, despite the recent narratives of ‘Spursy’ of ‘bottling’ and of a ‘small club mentality’, will rise to finally, and ecstatically, secure a major trophy under Pochettino.