Mauricio Pochettino has transformed Tottenham into London's top team

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 02 April 2018, 08:57

TOTTENHAM victories at Chelsea are like London buses. You can wait ages for one, simple as that.

So when it finally arrives the overwhelming feeling of relief lingers all the way to your stop.

Yet Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino’s celebration for ending a 28 year wait for a Tottenham win at Stamford Bridge amounted to sipping from a small, plastic bottle of activated charcoal water.

That is how the pragmatic Argentinian looks upon a seismic afternoon in the power struggle of London football and the Premier League as a whole.

Meanwhile, it is Chelsea manager Antonio Conte whose turbulent two year reign now looks charred and incinerated where once it appeared destined to take the club in a glorious new direction.

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It’s a bit of an added insult that beating Chelsea, for years the Capital’s most successful club, on its own turf in a key game at a crucial stage of the season, means nothing more than three points to Pochettino.

A top four place for him now looks in the bag with seven games to go, Chelsea and Arsenal can be dismissed as he looks back over his shoulder at the rest of the chasing London pack.

Pochettino pulls a tired smile still when questioned about his lack of a gold medal as a manager but in the crowded bear pit of London football with half a dozen Premier League teams within the M25, there exists a mini league and Tottenham are now firmly at the top.

Minnows West Ham, Crystal Palace and Watford can be discounted but between the ‘big three’ Spurs should take pride in considering themselves firmly established as the big beasts. There isn’t a cup for it but there should be.

When Pochettino took over Tottenham in May 2014 the club had just finished sixth in the Premier League. That was decent enough – then, but not now.

Chelsea and Arsenal were 13 and ten points respectively above them and took it for granted that the fixed pattern of London football was be ever thus.

Less than four years later, Tottenham are about to move into a brand, spanking new 62,000 purpose built football stadium on the site of their old spiritual White Hart Lane ground as the top dogs in the Big Smoke.

Conte’s legacy at Chelsea if, as expected, he gets sacked in the summer, will be as the man who brought fleeting glory in the shape of a Premier League title and maybe an FA Cup.

But he will be remembered as much as the whinger who brought it all crashing down again a year later amid a sea of complaints and buck passing over whose fault it was.

Pochettino may never put a trophy in the cabinet that will sit in the new boardroom at Tottenham’s new ground. But he went as close on Sunday to admitting his brief as manager has been to catch up on the top four and now he has done so, to stick with it.

It’s similar to being world no.1 in tennis. There is no glittering trophy to go with it but many of the top players see it as being worth more than the temporary high of being handed a medal on an acrylic next strap.

Maybe that small bottle of black pond water which tastes like burnt wood is Pochettino’s symbol of success.


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