Mailbag: Pochettino, offside, smaller club strategies and more!
Plus: Man Utd's no DM plan, stuff I got wrong
Hi everyone, time for another mailbag here. I went pretty long on a couple of these, so only ended up answering five rather than the intended six, but hopefully it should be a good read regardless.
“Pochettino. How good is he? We know he’s Espanyol/Southampton good, but was Spurs just an alignment of the planets moment for him, Kane, Dele and so on? What does PSG tell us about him? Would United have eaten him alive?”
Short answer: yeah I still think he’s really good.
Mauricio Pochettino likes to do things his way, and he likes to have total buy-in. We saw that in his first season at Tottenham, where he clearly didn’t have the players for his kind of football but persisted anyway. He spent all season playing a midfield double pivot of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb that clearly wasn’t good enough because those were the players who bought into his ideas.
Spurs were not good at all that season. As StatsBomb director of football (and Spurs fan) James Yorke wrote at the time, Tottenham were a midtable side in the data that year, despite finishing fifth. It all looked atrocious. But Pochettino stuck with his methods, brought in some of the right players, and oversaw a massive improvement to become one of the Premier League’s best teams for the next four years.
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