FourFourTwo’s 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2017: No.11, Mauricio Pochettino
After out-performing bigger-spending rivals in the Premier League, all Poch needs now is silverware to take a step forward into the world’s top 10 coaches
Could he do it again?
Yes, he did it again.
Tottenham’s title challenge in 2015/16 was generally dismissed as a mild anomaly, and explained with reference to failures which were occurring at other clubs. A year on, Pochettino and Spurs were expected to succumb to their financial disadvantage and tumble back out of the top four.
But the Argentine has kept his side ahead of the chasing pack. While other clubs have spent furiously to recover lost ground, Tottenham’s internal evolution has set a pace which even armies of nine-figure signings are struggling to match.
The key to that, and the essence of Pochettino’s managerial worth, lies in his ability to transform the careers of individual players. He’s a captivating personality and it takes little more than a couple of minutes in his presence to understand why he’s able to extract so much from players who, previously, were perceived to have strict limitations.
Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen are his obvious successes, but in every part of his matchday squad lies someone who has made considerable strides under his guidance. Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker; these are players who were thought of as surplus to requirements when Spurs were still locked outside the top four. Now, they’re deemed essential to keeping them in those positions.
That doesn’t just happen. To progress so rapidly, players need to be enraptured by something and to buy into a collective movement. Rather than just tactics, smart signings or rigid physical discipline, it’s Pochettino’s personal magnetism which has allowed that to develop. He’s built something cultish at Spurs – and something which may yet prove brilliant.
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- RANKED! The 10 best managers in the Football League
- QUIZ! Can you name these 16 managers by their trophy hauls?
- FourFourTwo's 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2016
FourFourTwo's 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2017
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Seb Stafford-Bloor is a football writer at Tifo Football and member of the Football Writers' Association. He was formerly a regularly columnist for the FourFourTwo website, covering all aspects of the game, including tactical analysis, reaction pieces, longer-term trends and critiquing the increasingly shady business of football's financial side and authorities' decision-making.
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