Mauricio Pochettino’s legacy at Tottenham Hotspur has finally come to an end. The Argentine was sacked on Tuesday just five months after reaching the Champions League final following a poor start to the Premier League season. But, it is still unsure whether he was shown the door due to his souring relations with the club board or because of their early-season struggles.
In five years as Tottenham boss, Pochettino failed to add any significant trophies to the Spurs cabinet with only pre-season tournament Audi Cup being lifted by Harry Kane and Co. In fact, he has never managed to win a single trophy in his managerial career.
Pochettino, 47, joined Spurs from Southampton in 2014 and has been instrumental in turning Tottenham into Champions League regulars over the past four seasons.
That culminated in a dramatic run to the club’s first-ever European Cup final in June, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid. However, domestically results have been on the decline since February.
Spurs had the faltering fortunes of Arsenal and Manchester United to thank for them clinging onto a top-four finish last season as they won just three of their final 12 league games.
The form has continued at the start of this season with Pochettino leaving the club already 11 points outside the Premier League top four and 20 behind leaders Liverpool.
Pochettino’s biggest win at Tottenham came in a 7-0 drubbing of Tranmere earlier this year, while October’s 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League was his worst defeat.
One of Spurs’ greats
Before the 2019/20 season kicked off, Pochettino had the best win percentage in the Premier League compared to any other Spurs manager. However, their early-season slump has put him behind predecessor Tim Sherwood, the Englishman being in charge of only 22 league games.
Pochettino was just seven games away from reaching the 300-mark in all competitions that included 160 wins, 60 draws and 73 losses.
He is fourth-placed (293) in the all-time list of managers to have managed the highest number of games at the club, only behind Bill Nicholson (832), Peter McWilliam (505), and Keith Burkinshaw (431).
Struggles against top six
Pochettino achieved some memorable wins against the top six, beating the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.
But ever since took charge ahead of the 2014-‘15 season, Spurs only managed to secure three wins from their 27 Premier League away games against the big six. During their period they drew nine while being defeated 16 times.
He picked up just 60 points from 52 games against the top six. Only Arsenal have much poorer record, with 51 points. But since Pochettino took over Spurs, they have suffered more defeats compared to their rivals from the top six.
Pochettino vs Mourinho
The job done by Pochettino at Tottenham was all the more remarkable given the tight budget he was afforded by club chairman Levy for transfers and wages in comparison to their Premier League rivals, as the club built a new stadium at a cost of over $1.3 billion.
Instead, much of Pochettino’s success came from nurturing a squad of young players into household names such as Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.
After 18 months without signing a single player, Levy finally loosened the purse strings to buy Tanguy Ndombele for a club record £63 million in July and added Giovani lo Celso on loan as well as Ryan Sessegnon.
Although now Pochettino has been replaced by a big name such as Mourinho, there will be questions over whether the Portuguese’s pragmatic style can mesh with Tottenham’s tradition of attacking football, a problem he also faced at Manchester United.
|Jose Mourinho||Mauricio Pochettino|
(with AFP inputs)