Tottenham are Champions League finalists. Tottenham Hotspur. Champions League finalists. A statement almost as crazy as THAT game in the Dutch capital last night.
Lucas Moura, you absolute beauty.
While – with a European cup final on the horizon – this is no time to look to the past, it’s actually astonishing to think that just a number of years ago Tim Sherwood was deploying a classic 4-4-2 with Lewis Holtby in central midfield. How times have changed – and its all down to one man – Mauricio Pochettino.
A moment in time: Mauricio Pochettino appointed, 2014
The Argentinian arrived at Tottenham in 2014 after he had impressed immensely in his 18 months with Southampton. It wasn’t an appointment that went down unanimously well, with many believing previously linked Frank de Boer would be a better candidate. They couldn’t have been proved more wrong, however.
Pochettino’s first season in charge didn’t necessarily go to plan but certainly wasn’t a failure. Despite not finishing in the top four, Pochettino had started his revolution. The likes of Aaron Lennon, Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson were all moved on, while Emmanuel Adebayor was limited to just nine league starts. On the other hand, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb became an integral midfield pair, with Harry Kane emerging as the first team striker ahead of Roberto Soldado.
Additionally, Dele Alli was signed in January although immediately loaned back to MK Dons. More importantly, however, the Argentinian had installed a no-nonsense mentality into the squad, something immediately evident.
Their rise has been well-documented but it’s so important to remember when looking at nights like last night.
Behind the scenes, since the arrival of Pochettino, Tottenham have now built one of the best training grounds in Europe and one of the best stadiums. A capacity of 62,000 – not far off 30,000 more than the old stadium, to significantly boost revenue.
They are one game away from winning the Champions League and will once again be in the competition next season whatever happens in Madrid, while it has also been reported they will have at least £100m to spend this summer (as per The Sun).
A new chapter lies ahead.
There have been three stages in Pochettino’s remarkable transition of Tottenham. He first cut out the deadwood, installed a fighting mentality in the squad and vastly improved his team’s organisation and quality. He then led Tottenham to Wembley, where they established themselves in the Champions League. They now embark on a new stage – one in which they have a state of the art stadium and funds to spend.
In just five years at the club, Pochettino has completely transformed Tottenham. A Champions League semi-final was a million miles away when he first arrived. The job he has done is simply astonishing. Arguably, he was the most important incoming in Tottenham’s history.
Tottenham fans, would you have ever reached this stage without Pochettino? How does he compare to the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola as the best manager in the league? Comment Below.