Less than a month ago, Mauricio Pochettino was extensively seemed because of the leading contender for two of the most prestigious jobs in global football. Real Madrid and Manchester United have been both being led via prevent-hole managers, and the Argentine appeared set to be at the centre of a summertime battle for his offerings.
Football moves fast, although. Real and United both considered him, however, needed to react to their changing occasions quick. Longer-term planning was shunned in favour of appointments – of Zinedine Zidane and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – that just felt right at the one’s precise moments. Time will tell if those had been right decisions rooted in logic or sentimental appointments missing in longer-term imaginative and prescient.
Either manner, the events of the beyond few weeks have left Tottenham’s supervisor at a crossroads.
Unfortunately for Pochettino – with whom I spent some time a final year while writing an ebook about his managerial fashion, work at Spurs and existence tale – his crew have all at once forgotten how to win Premier League games.
Yes, they inspired towards Borussia Dortmund within the Champions League. However, they have got taken handiest one point from 15 regionally – the worst run of the manager’s 5-12 months reign.
All of which begs the query: what next for Pochettino? And is there an issue that this formidable man has taken the club as some distance as he can?
The latest hunch definitely shows that the development of a young facet is prone to stalling, in numerical terms as a minimum.
With 61 factors thus far this season, Tottenham has picked up three elements fewer than after 31 fits 12 months in the past. It is seven factors lower than it changed into seasons in the past at the same stage.
Compared with this factor of last season, they have gained one extra sport (20). But, more tellingly, they’ve misplaced 10, twice as many because the 5 defeats they suffered back then and as many as within the complete 2015-sixteen and 2016-17 seasons.
There are mitigating elements, of direction, no longer least the lack of a real ‘home’ stadium for the beyond seasons, the absence of a single signing because of January 2018 and the mid-season loss of the influential midfielder Mousa Dembele.
It is hard to argue against the view that the players have maximised their capability but whenever a new nook is turned the same question has been recommending: how an awful lot more can Pochettino get from this team?
As goals are met, gamers unavoidably begin feeling comfy and perhaps even feel they’re better than they undoubtedly are. These are all very human reactions. But combined consequences and poor performances have also led the gamers’ mindset to be questioned with the aid of the manager himself.
Has the group peaked? It feels that manner.
Pochettino’s boss, chairman Daniel Levy, has overseen the pass to the brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a landmark moment inside the membership’s records, with the first team’s first match there in opposition to Crystal Palace on Wednesday. While that – and the problems of the transfer market – have saved him busy over the last few years, he has been in a position to observe the group secure within the information that they have been progressing continuously.
What he is confronted with now could be a facet nearly five years older than while the Pochettino assignment started and one which might be about as appropriate as it’s miles going to get. If cash has been available, or three smart signings could have allowed the development to maintain, but now logic says that matters are going to stall.
Pochettino maintains to try to discover answers by way of including exclusive tactical layers, but the lack of new faces to clean up the technique has been trouble.
Of all of the top aspects within the Premier League, Tottenham stands out as the only without a clear beginning XI, wherein rotation rules the roost. That tells you the story. While each other group has identified 10-eleven starters that are superior to the relaxation, at Spurs, there’s virtually only one irreplaceable participant, Harry Kane.