The man from Murphy, Santa Fe is now in charge at White Hart Lane, but the Twitter reaction has been predictable, at best, to his appointment: for how long?
Last night, it was announced that Tottenham Hotspur had found the successor to Tim Sherwood, and the speculation linking Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino to the job had been grounded in fact. However, while all is settled for now, there may be rocky roads ahead. Spurs have had a habit of moving coaches out the door with very little patience for any perceived failing, and having spent a lot of money last summer, they need to start getting results on the field. Pochettino's Southampton side started with a bang and played some lovely football, but results did start to drift towards the end of the campaign, with the side only winning six of their last twelve. Winning only 50% of his games at the start of last season was enough to get Andre Villas Boas the sack (albeit after some poor results against the teams around them), and a similar fate could await the Argentine if his team doesn't match the style of Southampton.
Perhaps it would be too far to suggest that his side overachieved last term, but finishing eighth in the league was more than most expected, in particular given the turbulence at the club. This move has come at the right time for Pochettino, with things unlikely to improve in the long term when it comes to the continued problems with the owner. Katharina Liebherr, who inherited the club, clearly wants to sell; this was her father's project, and not hers, and she wants to get some money on her way out the door. Nicola Cortese's time there saw the club rise the ranks rapidly and spend wisely, but when he left back in December, it was widely thought that Pochettino would follow suit. It seems a long time ago now, but there are problems within the club, and with many of their players now hot property, their manager on the move and the squad likely to be taken apart by the vultures higher up the table, what happens next at Southampton is anyone's guess. However, it would be nearly impossible to match what they achieved this season, so there is a tough task ahead for the long list of names that are being touted to fill the new vacancy, from Neil Lennon to Tata Martino. Has the right club come at the right time for Pochettino? That remains to be seen.
His first signing is rumoured to be Adam Lallana, and at £30 million that would be a hefty investment from the London side. With Liverpool also rumoured to be interested, and the price rising every day, it does seems easy to forget that Lallana, unlike his team-mate Luke Shaw (also rumoured to be joining his former manager at Spurs) is not one of the young crop of players that has happened to explode through the ranks at St. Mary's. At 26 he's hardly an old man, but he has risen up through the ranks and been around for a while. In a team that has no shortage of midefielders and has no idea what to do with them, that move might not be good for either party at this stage. If Shaw does join, then Pochettino may well be able to bring some of the style that won him plaudits at Southampton with him, as the marauding full backs are key to the process, as Everton have shown this year too.
Pochettino's ability is undoubted - his playing career saw him wear the captain's armband at PSG and Espanyol, where, according to Sid Lowe, a former team-mate described his words as bringing "confidence, security, ambition" to the dressing room. He will do the same at Spurs, but in a team that has so many players that have underperformed (Adebayor, Lamela, Soldado, to name just a few) Pochettino could provide the magic touch, he could realise the potential in the squad there, which would make next year's league campaign perhaps even more exciting than this one. However, he also likes control, he demands a lot from his players and he forces them to work extremely hard. Judging by the reactions to Villas Boas, a coach who was similarly detailed, who also desired his squad to play in a certain way, he may find that he and the Portuguese have more in common than he would like come Christmastime this year.
Main pic via PlatformOnline.net