At Least The Manager Has A Clear Plan

This could be Daniel Levy's biggest gamble yet as pressure mounts on the Spurs chairman over his constant chopping and changing. At least his new manager has a plan...

Last Updated: 28/05/14 at 10:22 Post Comment

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Mauricio Pochettino clearly isn't a man to shirk a challenge - a quality he demonstrated during his playing career as a no-nonsense defender and on Tuesday when he became the latest manager to take charge of Tottenham's top-four aspirations. 'To Dare Is To Do' reads Spurs' motto and, in accepting one of the toughest jobs in the Premier League, Pochettino has already fulfilled the first part of that requirement.

Arriving at White Hart Lane amid an air of scepticism should not be unfamiliar to the Argentine. Daniel Levy's grandiose plan to lure Carlo Ancelotti to Spurs has inadvertently piled pressure on Pochettino, who must now prove himself a worthy fall-back. He relished the test to placate Southampton fans outraged by Nigel Adkins' sacking and is certain to show the same determination at Tottenham. "It's always sad when a manager departs," said Pochettino as he stepped into Adkins' shoes. "But I will convince them with my hard work to make them feel proud about how the team play. I like attractive, attacking football."

While Pochettino attempted to convince Saints fans of his credentials upon his arrival at St Mary's, Levy was busy doing that job for the manager on Tuesday when he spoke about the 42-year-old's "high energy, attacking football". Pochettino's impressive 18 months at Southampton deserve the acclaim, but it is difficult to shake the idea that Levy is trying to tie tassels to his third choice as he bids to escape merited criticism following a season of poor decisions and disappointment.

There is a sense that Spurs are the Premier League's bridesmaid - having missed out on Louis van Gaal as well as Ancelotti - and, as the club's second contingency plan in six months, Pochettino will have no longer than a year to shed his image as the back-up option. Indeed, given the fates of his predecessors, the Argentine's five-year contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. This is undoubtedly another gamble for Spurs, but even more so for a manager risking his burgeoning reputation on a challenge with only one acceptable outcome.

However, owing to his evident self-confidence, Pochettino is unlikely to agree that his appointment is a sign of Spurs settling for less. He will be optimistic about bringing the best out of record signing Erik Lamela - one of his main responsibilities - while the squad can look forward to working with a manager who knows exactly what he wants from his high-tempo playing style. Unlike Tim Sherwood - and Levy - Pochettino has a clear philosophy that should help the club forge a new identity.

Whether that identity can be realised before Levy's trigger finger starts to itch is the biggest question. Pochettino is a better direction to take than Sherwood, but no more deserving of his position than Villas-Boas, who was mercilessly sacked following a slow start to the season. Regardless of Pochettino's fate, his appointment could have an even bigger impact on Levy's future, with the chairman running out of excuses for his constant chopping and changing. He has chosen an excellent man for the job, but then again, it isn't the first time.

Matt Stanger - he's on Twitter.

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