Can Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham mount another title charge?
- 14th August 2017
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) takes a look at what we can expect from Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham during the 2017/18 Premier League season.
Mauricio Pochettino further enhanced his reputation as Tottenham mounted another title charge, winning 12 of their last 13 league matches in a blistering late flourish that improved their goal difference by 33. They were arguably the strongest team in the league from March onwards but simply left it too late. They now relocate to Wembley for a season, with all the potential discomfort that brings, and wave goodbye to Kyle Walker. New signings have been slow to arrive but there will be business before August is out.
There’s a military quality to Pochettino and his methods. He’s a modern-day boot-camp manager, the army drill sergeant who knocks his troops into shape to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. His teams routinely outrun the opposition and capitalise on space by timing their movements with admirable precision. When he first arrived in England, Southampton players joked that they needed three lungs to work for him and would often spend their afternoons sleeping off the effects of his training sessions.
"How have Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and different clubs tried to improve their season? Bringing players and trying to put more pressure on their star players, their key players – and, for us, we need to do that too. We need to put pressure on our own players. We have some really good players. They want to win but they need to feel the pressure to improve every season. If there’s no competition from behind it’s normal to drop your motivation. And then it’s difficult to win."
Much has been made of the temporary switch to Wembley and there’s no getting away from the fact that visiting teams are going to be extra motivated at the national stadium than they would have been at White Hart Lane. Given Tottenham’s imperious home record last season - which would have been extremely difficult to replicate in any case - it’s not inconceivable they could lose 15 points to that alone. A regression of some sort seems inevitable. The extent depends on the quality of their business at the end of August.