There’s no denying that Mauricio Pochettino has the ability to make football teams better. He can demand high-intensity attacking and can improve players. However, is the manager for Tottenham Hotspur, a winner?
After Tottenham missed a place in the Carabao Cup final next month, following a devastating penalty-shootout loss against Chelsea in the semi-final second leg on Thursday, Tottenham managed to lose 2-1 that evening after claiming a 1-0 win during the home leg. Therefore, it’s a legitimate question to ask regarding a manager that is already on high demand for Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Mauricio Pochettino as a Manager
The former centre back for Tottenham Hotspur will argue that he has a ruthless streak when it comes to delivering major honours at Hotspur. However, when everything is on the line, Pochettino and his team usually fall short.
The legendary managers in football, including Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, and Sir Alex Ferguson, managed to become the best in their profession by always finding the edge and using a unique way to win once the pressure was truly on. However, this is another example where Pochettino was unable to deliver when facing an important game as his team selection left him open to criticism and scrutiny.
This was a match where Tottenham was without three vital players, including Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli, and Harry Kane. These three players have managed to score a total of 39 goals for Tottenham in all competitions during this season. Therefore, Pochettino couldn’t afford to be without any more senior players.
However, despite the massive holes in his Tottenham squad, he stuck with his choice to include Paulo Gazzaniga as the keeper, who has always been a second choice, in this clash and left World-cup winner and captain, Hugo Lloris, on the bench as a substitute. This is obviously a very small detail, but they usually make a significant difference when it comes to playing at an elite level. The fact remains, Pochettino weakened his squad when he decided to go with Gazzaniga and his error provided Chelsea with a lead.
Mourinho, Guardiola, and Ferguson have all utilised a backup goalkeeper in important semi-finals and even during finals. However, none of them would have taken the same risk as Pochettino with so many figures absent from the squad. Pochettino treats domestic competitions very lightly, stating that success in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup is not a priority. However, with no silverware making its way to Tottenham in recent seasons, he cannot be so choosy in terms of which trophy is more important.
With Pochettino, Tottenham lost the Carabao Cup semi-final and two semi-finals in the FA Cup. They managed to reach the final in the League Cup during the 2014/15 season, only to be defeated by Chelsea. Pochettino said that he is very proud of his team after suffering this loss at Stamford Bridge. However, for Pochettino to be considered an elite manager, he will be required to win something and give the impression that every trophy in football matters.