Oh To Be Mauricio Pochettino...

No manager is in a stronger bargaining position right now than the Saints boss - his decisions are not placed under scrutiny so he looks better than big names...

Last Updated: 18/12/13 at 14:37 Post Comment

Latest Articles

A Battle For The Soul Of Football


Adam Bate was in the Santiago Bernabeu to watch Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich 1-0. It was a clash of styles that felt like far more than just a contest between two teams...

Van Gaal Would Promise A Fascinating Ride


Should Louis van Gaal take over at Old Trafford, there seems little guarantee that he would be successful. One thing is sure, it would be an interesting and enjoyable ride...

All Articles

While Malky Mackay was being told that "not a single penny" will be available in the January transfer market after spending more than 13 other Premier League clubs in the summer, one of the six managers who spent more is reportedly set for a bumper new contract (all new contracts are 'bumper'; it's the law) because Tottenham are casting admiring glances in his direction. It's an incredibly good time to be Mauricio Pochettino.

Extravagant summer spending is not the only place where Mackay and Pochettino's paths cross as their clubs have identical records over the last eight games. They have both won just twice and drawn/lost thrice to give themselves nine points - less than Crystal Palace and marginally more than Sunderland. A difficult fixture list might be a mitigating factor, but Pochettino is fortunate to benefit from Tottenham's interest on the back of that chastening run.

There is no greater manager than one whose decisions are not placed under any real scrutiny. All the media sees is a team achieving above their station (though in squad value terms, mid-table should be roughly Southampton's level and they are currently ninth) and a starting XI with a fine smattering of English players. They are wilfully ignoring the £36m spent this summer (all on foreign players), while Pochettino's team selections are made under a radar that bottoms out somewhere just above the south coast. It seems an awful long time since the sacking of Nigel Adkins was derided as a disgrace by both fans and pundits.

This is not to say that Pochettino is not a good manager (as Nick Miller wrote here, we really have no idea) but it's rather easier to look better than Andre Villas-Boas, Arsene Wenger or David Moyes when your actions are not being scrutinised. Like the Arsenal fan who famously wanted Owen Coyle to replace Wenger or anybody who suggested Steve Clarke could return to Chelsea as manager, heralding Pochettino as a viable option for any big job after less than a year in English football is incredibly short-sighted.

While every minute tactical decision - from the selection of the left-back to the use of inverted wingers - is dissected when you are the manager of Arsenal or Tottenham, there are no national newspaper journalists asking why Pochettino has split the mean defensive partnership of Dejan Lovren and Jose Fonte, discarded £13m signing Gaston Ramirez or dropped Adam Lallana to reunite the underwhelming Dani Osvaldo (£15m) with Rickie Lambert. Nobody is pointing out that Southampton play more long balls than any other Premier League side and have a pass completion rate lower than Fulham.

It's not that those statistics are a barometer of quality but they're exactly the statistics that would be seized upon if Pochettino managed a higher-profile club. Instead, the media talk vaguely about a 'high pressing game' after reading a tweet from Jonathan Wilson and fawn over his use of Lallana, Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez while nasty (more successful) clubs like Chelsea field teams of foreigners.

Pochettino may well be a phenomenal football manager - despite being sacked by Espanyol when they were bottom of La Liga - and his tactical blueprint certainly suggests his methods could eventually transfer elsewhere, or he might be a 12-month wonder who was lucky enough to inherit an excellent crop of young players and be given considerable money to supplement with relatively expensive signings. Whatever the truth, his stock is so high that he will inevitably be handed either a bigger club or a bigger contract by the end of the season.

Like we said, it's an incredibly good time to be Mauricio Pochettino.

Sarah Winterburn

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments


hy don't you call in Becks as well...and we will all have a lovely tea party!

United: Scholes helping out


ourinho is just a good-looking version of Allardyce (Fit Sam?). Clearly 19th century football isn't such a big deal after all?

Chelsea Killed The Game Instead Of Playing It


tay put, Pep. Timothy Sherwood has this under control.

Guardiola plans Bayern stay

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Europa League: Lima's late winner gives Benfica 2-1 victory in semi-final first-leg

Substitute Lima struck late to help Benfica to a 2-1 victory over Juventus in their Europa League semi-final first-leg.

Nicky Butt proud to be assisting Manchester United's temporary boss Ryan Giggs

Nicky Butt says he is immensely proud to be assisting Manchester United's temporary manager Ryan Giggs.

Europa League: Sevilla secure first leg lead in all-Spanish clash with Valencia

Sevilla toppled La Liga rivals Valencia in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final to claim a 2-0 advantage.

Mail Box

Guardiola Is No Better Than Moyes...

At least he wasn't in Bayern's defeat to Real Madrid, says one chap in the mailbox. Plus, more excitement over Van Gaal at Man United and thoughts on FFP...

Man United Fans Excited By Van Gaal Talk

Man United fans know who they want to replace David Moyes, with Louis van Gaal the favourite to take over at Old Trafford. Plus, thoughts on Real Madrid v Bayern Munich...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property