SawboSpur1882 from the forum drops the love on Mauricio Pochettino.
Just over three weeks ago, the fine example of human decency that is John Terry was lifting the League Cup at Wembley. In the last week Kyle Walker and co. conspired to let six goals past them in two games. Yet still I’m happy, content and above all excited about this team going forward.
Being Tottenham is a joy again – at the very least it’s not completely miserable anymore. There’s a few people we have to thank for that, but above all, the contribution of Mauricio Pochettino in his first season at the club has been enormous.
Back in August, I wasn’t thinking about a top four finish and that mindset hasn’t really changed now. I just wanted the Tottenham we all know and hate to love back. Yes, that’s the Tottenham that concedes three goals at home to Leicester City, because that’s still much better for me than AVB’s 1-0 wins and 6-0 losses and Tim Sherwood’s ‘tactics’.
It’s impossible to not have some sort of weird man-love for the group we have now, the type of love that no man can make their partner understand
Along with the new manager, a lot has changed at Spurs this year and a connection between the fans and players has re-emerged. The uber-rich, perma-tanned celebrity players of today’s game are, in general, a dislikable bunch, with their on and off-pitch antics becoming more and more embarrassing to watch.
There’s also the problem with them being so wealthy now that a chasm has opened between the lives of the fans and the players. This development coupled with the procession of top-class players that have exited White Hart Lane in the last ten years had made it not worth the heartbreak to make that connection anymore.
However, this year is different – it’s impossible to not have some sort of weird man-love for the group we have now, the type of love that no man can make their partner understand.
The likes of Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and of course Harry Kane in particular have reignited the passion at White Hart Lane. Even the forever stone-faced Danny Rose has gained massive amounts of affection due to a mixture of his dramatic improvement in performance levels and his sheer desire to give everything, every time.
They seem to all be playing for the badge now; suddenly they seem to realise how much it matters, how the remainder of the weekend and the Monday morning at school or work for thousands of men and women hinges on what they do out on that pitch.
Redknapp didn’t understand that the club is more important than himself. Villas-Boas didn’t understand that the 89 minutes of turgid football before a certain Welshman scored the winner isn’t what we pay money for
Somehow, the manager knows it too. Mauricio Pochettino has been in England for just two years, at Tottenham for little more than nine months and yet he seems to understand better than anyone how important the club is to so many. The sight of him taking pictures of his family at Loftus Road, not in an executive box, but in the away end, singing Harry Kane’s name with the loyal away day travellers, was a strangely beautiful sight. He understands.
Redknapp didn’t understand that the club is more important than himself. Villas-Boas didn’t understand that the 89 minutes of turgid football before a certain Welshman scored the winner isn’t what we pay money for. Sherwood doesn’t really understand anything. But Pochettino understands. He’s brought the passion from the stands to the dressing room and that is a big step.
Whisper it quietly, but there are still a tiny minority who inexplicably want the manager replaced. There is criticism for the defensive frailty of the team this season, particularly in recent weeks and rightly so. A mix of individual errors and a lack of defensive cohesion has left Hugo Lloris struggling to remember what earning a clean sheet feels like. It is becoming a major problem, but something that Pochettino will need time to fix, quite probably over the summer.
Thankfully, the voice of reason is a larger collective than in the past and the message is loud and clear: Pochettino could really be our man. He isn’t quite the second coming of Bill Nicholson, but the fans have accepted the rebuilding process was always going to take time after the sledgehammer swung by Villas-Boas, Baldini and Sherwood had torn down the foundations of Tottenham Hotspur.
In his early months at Spurs, questions were raised as Pochettino tinkered with his selection, trying to work out how Paulinho and Etienne Capoue had ever stolen a career in football. A cup final, an entertaining style of play and the emergence of Kane has since blown the doubt away. The high intensity pressing has become a consistent feature of Tottenham’s game and on the ball, the play is once again expansive and exciting. The development of individuals has also been phenomenal under the former Espanyol and Southampton manager.
Jan Vertonghen is no longer the sulking child that he was playing the role of last season and Nabil Bentaleb has gone from the butt of all Tim Sherwood jokes to an essential part of Tottenham’s spine and potential captain material. Anyone who can make Danny Rose worthy of an international call-up has a great deal of coaching talent. That’s not just a sarcastic jibe at Rose either; he’s been spectacular this season, growing as the season has progressed into one of Tottenham’s most important players and Pochettino’s role in this development should not be overlooked.
As the months go on, we are seeing more and more of the manager’s favourite word – his “philosophy” – on the pitch. Spurs now have an identity, the Pochettino stamp, far from the finished article, but with so much potential. The backing from the fans is strong, this summer will demonstrate if Daniel Levy and the board trust him too.
If Pochettino is allowed to truly have the reigns and execute his vision, potential might just turn into results. Cup final appearances might turn into actual silverware and the shining beacon of light that Daniel Levy so desperately craves, that out-of-reach Champions League spot, might finally return to the Lane.
Anyone who can make Danny Rose worthy of an international call-up has a great deal of coaching talent. That’s not just a sarcastic jibe at Rose either; he’s been spectacular this season
The defence is a legitimate worry and Pochettino’s selection and substitutions have proven to be poor on multiple occasions this year. However, any suggestion to look for the solution with a new man at the helm is ridiculous. Our ‘Head Coach’ has earned time and an opportunity to conduct his symphony how he envisions it.
I never fell out of love with Tottenham, but last season became a countdown to when we could get rid of Sherwood and watching the games became increasingly difficult as the embarrassing performances continued. Thanks to Mauricio Pochettino and his team, the passion has been reinvigorated and the countdown is now for when the next game will be. Just how it should be.