Yiannis Bouranis writes about Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino and the Spurs’ chances to win the title in the English Premier League.
When Mauricio Pochettino took over Tottenham in May 2014, the club was still struggling to build a decent team in the post-Bale era. Although many great players had been acquired, the North London side never managed to fight for a place within the top-three of the table, or even for the title.
However, last summer, things changed. Pochettino decided to impose his own playing style and made many changes in the roster, with many players (like Roberto Soldado, Vlad Chiriches and Paulinio) leaving the club.
Consequently, the 43-year-old manager created the youngest squad in the entire Premier League and, a few months later, Tottenham has become an equal title contender, based on their determination, work ethic and team spirit.
The team has the best defence in the entire league (having conceded only 16 goals) and one of the best offensive lines. The acquisition of Toby Aldeweireld, along with the great performances of Erik Dier and Dele Alli, has given the Spurs’ the defensive stability they were lacking last year.
At the same time, Tom Carroll is also in great shape, while Harry Kane’s tremendous form lately, with the Englishman having scored 11 goals so far, has let Tottenham claim important victories and currently be fourth in the standings.
“Their characteristics are very compatible,” Pochettino said about Kane and Carroll. “In the team, they create very good energy between them. But I believe that it is not only them, it is the whole squad.”
And this is Pochettino’s greatest accomplishment, namely that he has made that youthful group of players not only play for one another, but also (play) for their coach and their fans, as the winning mentality seems to have been restored.
The Argentinian’s tactics require from the players to stick 100% to the plan, fight for every possession and have great balance in transition.
What is exciting, though, is that everybody seems to have adapted very well to the manager’s playing style, which is proved by the decent performances they have made in most of their games this season.
As a result of all this, there have already been the first points of view that the Spurs are able to make the surprise and claim the title, as they are currently six points behind league leaders Arsenal (42-36).
However, Pochettino is not in favour of any discussion about Tottenham’s title chances. “The numbers say it’s possible for us to win the title, however it’s much more important to keep on working hard. The team is still young, we have a lot to learn and must keep our feet to the ground,” said the former Espanyol and Southampton boss.
The Argentinian mentioned, though, that the next nine or ten games will be crucial for the North London side’s effort to remain a title contender.
“We have to enter the last 10 games of the season, maintaining the same possibility to fight for our targets. We are very quiet, we don’t talk so much, but we fight very hard and believe in ourselves. Nothing is impossible in football and the only way to fail is to stop working hard,” said the 43-year-old coach.
At the end, Pochettino tries to keep his squad focused only on what happens on the pitch and now has his sights set on the back-to-back matches against Premier League’s pleasant surprise, Leicester City, on 10 (FA Cup) and 13 (Premier League) of January, respectively.
Because, above all, the two matches against Claudio Ranieri’s squad will be the perfect chance for Pochettino and his players to prove what Everton’s manager, Roberto Martinez, said a few days ago, namely that “Tottenham can win the Premier League.”