For Pochettino it's out with the old, in with the new

Fluid Mauricio Pochettino is throwing out the rigid Andre Villas-Boas style football White Hart Lane witnessed and introducing a style that allows players to show their talent.

Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham Head Coach


Buying high quality expressive players and then shackling them into a rigid system was never going to bring out the best in them. Players like Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli need a freer role and that is exactly what Pochettino is introducing at Spurs.

We saw the beginnings of it on the North American pre-season tour. Apart from the high pressing, what stood out most was the interchanging of the attackers. Erik Lamela for instance starts on the right but is free to roam, when he comes into the centre, Eriksen or even Soldado drifts right, Lennon starting on the left scored a goal from the right.

It's a lot more difficult to mark players who are interchanging as as a defender you are constantly having to make decisions, do a follow that player or stay here. With all the defenders having to constantly make decisions you increase the risk of them making a wrong choice and thus a chance is created.

Mauricio Pochettino was naturally asked about Argentine signing Erik Lamela and his future role.

“You know Erik Lamela and we know him from Argentina and Italy. But he is still young and the Premier League is the most difficult league to play in - the style, the language and to adapt. But now after one year at Tottenham we think and we believe that Erik is ready to show his quality. 
“Will he play as a No10 or out wide? It depends on the situation. My philosophy is to give a freer style with a good organisation - but not only with Erik, with other players. 
“They are unbelievable players, creating a different action on the ball. The most important thing is to create good organisation and a good shape for our players to be comfortable in and to show their real qualities. 
“My challenge is not only √Črik Lamela but all players - to get the best football match and get the best skill and desire to use for the team.”

On Saturday the new Argentinian head coach makes his home debut in a friendly against Bundesliga side Schalke, a time when many supporters feel the season is really starting, the first home game.

“For me it’s an honour to be head coach of Tottenham. It’s a club [that’s set up] for achieving things and being successful. The club wants to achieve something, the club is ambitious and it has great facilities - I think it’s the best in the world, the training ground, yes it’s true. 
“It’s difficult to find another facility like Tottenham have, and we have great supporters, great fans, not only in London but around the world, as we saw in America. It’s all the elements for big success. 
“I am ambitious too. Now we are starting to develop our style and our philosophy, and the most important thing is to believe in that."

That may sound like a throw away line but it's so much more important than that because if you don't believe in something you can't and won't achieve it. Believing in it will give you a chance of achieving it but totally believing it will ensure it happens. If you totally and utterly believe in something with complete conviction, then you'll find a way to achieve it if you simply persevere.

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The difficulty is that it is not just Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff have to totally believe what they are doing but the players have to totally believe in it as well, each and every one of them. That is not an easy task to achieve, you need all the parts believing so they all give their optimum, otherwise you fall short.

We have seen what happens when players don't believe, a total disaster. You can get by, you can muddle through, you can achieve mediocrity, but you can't take the step we need to take, the step to the next level. The mental step comes before the physical step. All the pre-season signs are that players have bought into the philosophy.

“I knew the players but when you arrive somewhere you feel the players, you start to see them in a different way. It’s true that some players in certain situations surprise you, but I am very pleased with all of them. We have unbelievable players and this is important to achieve something."

Pochettino has come to the biggest club he has been at with the best squad he has had to work with. He has shown what he can do in La Liga with Espanyol, catching the attention of Real Madrid and in the Premier League with Southampton. In both cases there were limiting factors, a ceiling, at Tottenham those factors are at a different level and the expectations on him are raised.

Applying his strategies to a better set of players you would hope produces better results and provides the missing ingredient that will help Tottenham break into the top four. It can't be done with money so it has to be done with the quality of the coach, thus when it is discovered that a coach doesn't have that missing ingredient thy are replaced.

Talent and a talented system are an exciting combination. We see foreign sides like Benfica with a smaller budget rip us apart so a system can and does make a difference. Pochettino has the air of substance about him as opposed to being a name first and a coach second, he appears as if he may be the right man for the job, the initial signs are encouraging.

“I’ve never had a problem with my communication with the players. All of it was good. It’s different when you speak in public and in private. I’m more nervous now [speaking to reporters]. 
“Now it’s good, my communication - and I’m lucky because my assistant, Jesus [Perez], has very good English and helps me every time. He’s always close to me. 
“In the future I want to speak with reporters [in English]. But I always remember Bobby Robson or [David] Beckham in Spain. It was very difficult to start to speak in English in front of the media and they always used the translator. 
“But, for me, it’s about respect for you and our fans. I have a lot of thoughts in my mind, in my head, and it’s difficult to explain to you in another language that is not Spanish. 
“Sometimes my English seems poor and it’s difficult to explain in the way that I want, and it’s for that that I used the translator in Southampton. At times it’s possible Jesus or other people will help me in the press conference.”

We all know what our press are like and indeed out own supporters. They don't always look at the context or the real meaning. Some things are misinterpreted, some things are deliberately misinterpreted to give an angle to a story and sell papers. Fans are influenced by that are many blindly follow what the media tell them.

In the past Pochettino has done what he can to avoid that through the use of an interpreter but he is developing a very good relationship with the media which will help them' be nice' to him and minimise deliberate misinterpretation.

He is showing the club is a good light which only adds to the brand image and helps attract new revenue. He has introduced a new style into Tottenham both on and off the field and it looks a very healthy match now Tottenham having stopped playing the 'name' game.



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