Pochettino’s Tottenham future: a possible 20-year reign or early exit?
Spurs boss discusses trophy demands, the new stadium and transfer policies
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea
- What: Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg
- When: Tuesday 8 January
- Where: Wembley Stadium, London
- Kick-off time: 8pm
- TV channel: live on Sky Sports
Tottenham and their fans are enjoying some exciting times. The north London club is set to move to a new 62,062-seat stadium and the side are also in contention for four trophies: the Premier League, Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League.
Much of their success will depend on the future of highly rated manager Mauricio Pochettino. Since arriving in 2014, the Argentine has led Spurs to three successive top-three finishes in the Premier League and built an attacking team around England skipper and star striker Harry Kane.
Yet despite progress both on and off the pitch, Spurs are still without a trophy since winning the League Cup in 2008, fuelling recent rumours linking Pochettino with Manchester United and Real Madrid.
The next six months could be crucial for Pochettino and Tottenham’s future.
‘I wish to be here 20 years’
Even though he has been heavily linked with the Man Utd hot seat, Pochettino has spoken of a possible long stay at Tottenham.
“I hope, or I wish to be here 20 years, and decide to leave or to finish my career here,” the 46-year-old told BBC Sport. “I am so focused here, and want to help the club to achieve what the club want to be in history.
“It would be fantastic. I am so happy to be here. I am so happy to work in that pressure. Why not?”
Sarri: Spurs need a trophy
Although Pochettino is keen for a long-term spell in charge at Tottenham, pressure is growing for him to bring silverware to the club’s trophy room at the new stadium.
Spurs are third in the Premier League, six points behind leaders Liverpool, are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, and will play Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Tonight Spurs face rivals Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals at Wembley Stadium.
Speaking ahead of the London derby clash, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri “stoked the fires” with comments about Pochettino’s need to end Tottenham’s trophy drought, Sky Sports reports.
“He is a very good coach, one of the best at the moment,” said Sarri. “I agree that he has to win a trophy. I hope not this [one].
“For me, it’s the same. Of course Pochettino is in Tottenham from four years ago. I am here from six months. Here in the first season, it is really very difficult for everybody.”
Top four is the aim
Pochettino insists that there is no pressure on him to win trophies at Tottenham, with major transfer signings delayed during the preparations for the stadium move.
He says that finishing in the top-four of the Premier League is the priority, to ensure Champions League football is secured. Pochettino told The Daily Telegraph: “When you build a stadium and you have limitations, people demand you win, but you don’t have the same tools as other clubs.
“When [chairman] Daniel Levy and [owner] Joe Lewis called me, they said ‘Mauricio, we need to prepare and help the club, so when we arrive in the new stadium we have a team that can finish in the top four’. We are in advance, no? That’s why I laugh when people say we need to win a trophy.”
‘Demand a trophy when we spend £300m’
Spurs’ financial limitations, compared with the spending power of Premier League rivals Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, is another reason Pochettino has a different focus.
Quoted by Goal.com he said: “If I had arrived at Tottenham and Daniel says you have £300m to spend, it is my responsibility to win. Come on, if I was to spend £300m and then say the project is to build step by step and be in the top four or maybe win something… Come on, it’s not normal, this. When the club offers you the job they say what the club expects from you.
“If the club says to you ‘I want you to win the Champions League, the Premier League, the Carabao Cup’, you say ‘OK, you want to win this and this and this? Can you give me this and this and this?’ Yes? OK, then I need to deliver it and win.”
Transfer policy and doubts over Pochettino’s future
If Tottenham are to compete for the Premier League title and other trophies, Pochettino has warned the club that they need to “operate in a different way” and change their transfer policy.
And despite saying he would like to remain at the club, The Times reports that there are doubts over Pochettino’s future at Tottenham. He expects Spurs to win trophies but does not know if he will be the boss who brings silverware back to the north London club.
He said: “Daniel Levy [the Tottenham chairman] is creating a legacy that is going to be amazing for the club. I can see in the future Tottenham winning trophies.
“I don’t know if that will be with us, without us, in one year, in five years. But all the foundations are down for one day to start to win titles and be like other successful clubs.”