Mauricio Pochettino is turning into Arsene Wenger with his top four obsession

by Andy Dillon / 23 February 2018, 09:29

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IT'S a bit early but sooner or later it was bound to happen with Tottenham and Arsenal in such close proximity.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is morphing into Arsene Wenger, the manager from down the road in North London who classes finishing every season behind three other teams as a roaring success.

It is a hot thread with the resumption of the Champions League in recent weeks and seeing the symbol of 21st century cash-crazy football clash with the oldest cup competition in the world.

And no prizes for guessing where Wenger and Pochettino's and even coaches with no hope of ever winning either competition put their priorities.After seeing Rochdale grab a spirited draw against Tottenham in last week's FA Cup fifth round to earn a replay at Wembley, Pochettino could not have been more disrespectful of the opposition or misguided about what sets pulses racing among rank and file fans.

Everybody with a sense of reason and perspective rightfully stood and applauded Spurs for coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Juventus in their previous match on a giddy night in the Champions League.

And those people, plus a few more, saluted little Rochdale for bringing them right back down to earth in the very next game, in what was for the League One side, the equivalent of Tottenham's admirable show in Turin.

Pochettino then completely misses the point by declaring a score draw in the Champions League sent 'shockwaves around the world' while if Tottenham go on to win The FA Cup 'would be fantastic for our fans but nothing really changes after that'. Ask those Spurs supporters who have been following their team through thick and thin for years whether they agree.

Champions League qualification or see Spurs parade a trophy around the Wembley pitch in May followed by the sight of their hungover heroes show off the silverware from the top of an open double decker bus the next day?

Despite heroics at the Juventus Stadium, in spite of beating Real Madrid in the group stage, nobody at Tottenham, Pochettino included, really gives them a chance of becoming European champions this season.

As pointed out in this column last week, British managers seem obsessed with nothing else but qualifying for the Champions League and immediately they are in, set about qualifying for next year. It's groundhog day Premier League style. Chelsea have won the Champions League, they have won five Premier League titles since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. But ask the fans which is the most memorable moment and many will argue it was winning the 1997 FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough.

It was their first major trophy for 27 years and is seen as the trigger, the launchpad for the contemporary giant of the game we see now at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal have a reason to favour the Champions League - they have won the FA Cup three of the past four years. Fatigue is setting in and it's understandable that the supporters and the club are anxious to push on together. And anyway, Arsenal is just THAT kind of a club isn't it, if you know what I mean?

Tottenham have not won The FA Cup since 1991. There have been two League Cup triumphs since.

Pochettino has absolutely no right to disregard a competition he has never won and he has no right to take the snooty approach of his managerial peers until he does so.

These are key weeks for Tottenham. A nightmare run of tough fixtures for Chelsea, who are a point above them, could see Spurs leapfrog into fourth place and have next season's Champions League destiny in their own hands.

Great - but does that really compare to a big day out in May?

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