Aspects of Pochettino's system to watch at the World Cup

Southampton have a relegation budget yet Mauricio Pochettino had them easily in mid table, they finished comfortably in 8th. That was down to his coaching, quite an achievement in today's game where money decides everything.


Aspects of Pochettino's system to watch at the World Cup


There has been plenty of talk about his intense, high-pressing style and how it disrupted opposition teams. We have seen it in this World Cup for anyone unsure of what it is in action. Chile used it to tremendous effect in their opening two games, Argentina was causing Nigeria problems with it. it is a game when you don't have the ball.

Barcelona, Spain as well all press forward in numbers when the opposition keeper has the ball. The idea is to prevent the keeper rolling the ball out to a wide centre-back or full-back, you are trying to give him no option but to kick it, as that gives you an immediate chance to get the ball back in an area of the field where you outnumber your opponent. Argentina kept doing this against Nigeria yesterday.

When the opposition have the ball you again press in numbers to make the man on the ball make quick decisions and force them as much as possible to make the option you want them to make. If you rush players they make more mistakes as you would expect. You can then win the ball more in the opposition half and you keep them away from your goal.

For teams that like to play out from the back this is a problem. The centre-back collecting the ball from the keeper wants time, ours certainly do, to pass to a dropping midfielder. Rush the player least confident on the ball and you maximise your chances of forcing a mistake. If you watch games at the World Cup you'll see instances of it and you'll have an idea of the goal for Tottenham next season. Chile and Argentina are just two sides who use it.

We can expect few teams to dominate possession against us next season. If we look at the Southampton possession stats they were the highest in the Premier League at 58.6% and the 7th highest in the top 5 European Leagues.

Now you can get stats to tell you whatever you want but looking at their passing stats and you see they were only 9th best in the Premier League and 25th best in Europe. Now that suggests to me that Southampton were winning the ball higher up the field and attempting more 'key passes.'

I class key passes as through balls that are creative and can make a difference. Anyone can play 20 passes sideways across the field doing noting but improving their stats, as we know only too well.

That assumption is backed up by the stat which says they were the 8th best team in Europe (3rd in the Premier League) at winning the ball in the last third of the field and 2nd in the middle third (1st in the Premier League). Where were we I hear you ask, 27th (8th in the Premier League) and 16th (5th in the Premier League).

Clearly we have the basis of his system already at White Hart Lane, it just needs refining and retuning. For that reason it may not take us as long to adapt as some people are expecting.

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Just to add a little more weight to that Emmanuel Adebayor averaged more tackles than all but 2 strikers in the Premier League last season. That sort of work rate will be an essential element of next seasons system. Will Roberto Soldado fancy that?

There were times when he showed he did and times when he didn't. He could thrive in the system. It does raise the question, which players are going to buy into the philosophy and which are not, there will be some no doubt.


Defending from the front, winning the ball back high up the field keeps the opposition from your own goal. That contributed to Southampton sitting 2nd for fewest average shots conceded per game in the Premier League, Spurs were 4th incidentally. Again that does rather indicate we have the basis of his system already in place.

Tottenham's squad is youthful after all our buying over the last few seasons so it should be easier for us to achieve the fitness levels he requires and adapt our game to his philosophy. The squad isn't exactly lacking in ability so if we had hard work to technical ability then we will be a handful for anyone.

The old adage you have to earn the right to play has not always been observed at The Lane, it will be next season.



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