Why football owes Mauricio Pochettino a massive thank you

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 20 May 2019, 15:39

This may be tough for some of you to swallow but let’s face it we owe Mauricio Pochettino a massive thank you.

A huge show of gratitude for being the only manager who was able to stand up to the rumbling colossus of Manchester City this season.

Tottenham’s boss succeeded in throwing a spanner into the works and denying City a clean sweep of trophies at home and abroad in what is still a worrying time for English football.

With that epic comeback in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Spurs saved the competitive spirit of a competition which otherwise would be a monopoly.

The team with the most money wins. Just as Watford found to their cost in an FA Cup Final humiliation on Saturday up against a team which it was pointed out, had £230 million of talent on the bench.

The 6-0 pummeling handed out in the most one-sided Cup final in living memory should not be hailed as a tribute to Man City’s combined skills, the relentless demands of boss Pep Guardiola or the brilliance of their individuals.

It was an alarming vision that the future looks vastly different to what we have come to expect. Rather like climate change.

If Man City are allowed to continue to dominate and spend obscene amounts of money then the so-called ‘best league in the world’ will become a one-horse race.

And even the Sheik Mansour stable should be afraid of that.

The irony in Tottenham’s stunning triumph over City is that Spurs didn’t spend a penny on new players last season. So there is hope of the occasional knock out blow.

Even Guardiola admits his team will ultimately be judged on their performances in Europe. The Champions League still eludes them.

But the way a fellow Premier League side as gutsy as Watford were swept aside in a tedious climax to the domestic English season offers a nightmarish prospect for anyone who wants a competitive game over here.

City have become to first team to land the domestic treble, with the biggest winning margin in an FA Cup final since 1903.

The argument that the fact Burnley beat Derby County 6-0 just two years after Queen Victoria died shows that not much has changed, simply does not stack up.

The financial disparity between clubs at the turn of last century and the gulf between Watford and Manchester City is impossible to compare. But rest assured we know that Burnley were not bankrolled by billions of petro dollars from the UAE.

Whether City get their money fairly and squarely is not the argument here. It is the simple fact that they have it that endangers the spirit of fair play and the puncher’s chance that has made English football so popular worldwide.

It’s what attracted the Mansours and many other foreign investors to the Premier League in the first place.

Now the perception that anyone can beat anyone in England now lies in tatters with the exception of one team and one manager - Tottenham and Mauricio Pohcettino.

The Argentinian boss of Spurs was probably wincing like the rest of us watching Watford dismantled by a glut of goals scored with industrial precision at regular intervals by a conveyor belt of superstars.

Even Guardiola looked embarrassed by the end.

Whatever your allegiance, looking back now on a season in which City were made to work hard for their trophies but ultimately prevailed, Spurs should be applauded for their achievement.

That wasn’t football at Wembley on Saturday, it was like watching the poor have Arabic sand kicked in their faces.

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