While Spurs are facing Manchester City with the Citizens looking to clinch the title, Spurs are on a path to challenge them for the prize under Mauricio Pochettino
Becoming the first non-European to take charge of 200 Premier League games might be reason for some people to take a moment and wait for a pat on the back but for Mauricio Pochettino it is business as usual as his talented Spurs side close in on another top-four finish.
The same was true at Stamford Bridge a couple of weeks ago where Tottenham ended a 28-year wait for victory away to their London rivals but also took a giant step towards another year of Champions League football.
“Winning here at Stamford Bridge is a massive thing, for our fans and for Tottenham but it’s still only three points. I celebrate the same as I did in the past.”
Mauricio Pochettino is the first non-European manager to take charge of 200 #PL matches ??
L: 44 pic.twitter.com/YcI9Fxq1BQ
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 9, 2018
This mindset of not settling for less and continuing to strive for improvement has served Pochettino and Spurs well and while the title challenge that some tipped the club for this season never really materialised, there is no doubting the London club’s trajectory.
Spurs qualifying for the Champions League under Harry Redknapp in 2012 was something of a surprise and celebrated as such, but it wasn’t something that became expected like it would have been at the Premier League’s more established ‘top-four’ at the time.
That has changed since Pochettino took over from the passionate but clueless Tim Sherwood at the end of a sixth-placed finish in 2013-14.
“It will be a massive achievement to finish in the top four for the third consecutive time and get the Champions League,” Pochettino said as his side moved 11-points clear of Chelsea in fifth and only a point behind Liverpool in third, with a game in-hand.
An achievement that Pochettino knows places Tottenham in a tremendous position for the future.
Spurs are now becoming the Champions League regulars they once envied and ahead of their move to a new stadium, the opportunity to potentially rival the Premier League’s bigger spenders is clear.
“It will help not only on the football side but on the business side,” Pochettino said on the prospect of playing in Europe’s most illustrious tournament once more.
“The new stadium will help the team. The club is developing the projects, not only the stadium but the training ground facilities.”
This passion and non-stop work ethic was evident at Espanyol and at Southampton. It ultimately earned Pochettino the Spurs job despite many in England being skeptical at the time but it still burns as strong when talk of the ‘project’ at Tottenham pops us.
The critics will still ask, what has Pochettino won in his almost four years at Spurs?
But ahead of an FA Cup semi-final and another top-four finish it somewhat misses the point when taking into account the budget that Pochettino has worked on in comparison to the Premier League rivals, and the unbelievable changes that the club has undergone in this relatively short space of time.
Pochettino's first PL matchday squad at Spurs. Challenged for the title & now likely to finish in top 4 for 3 successive seasons having spent just £18m net in almost 4 years. Phenomenal job but basic minds will ask "but what has he won?" pic.twitter.com/sXoiLsXXA7
— Socanalysis (@SocanalysisHQ) April 6, 2018
The starting eleven that the Argentinean began with included the likes of Younès Kaboul, Étienne Capoue and Emmanuel Adebayor. Now, Pochettino and his exciting group of talented young players are attracting interest from some of the more traditional giants of the European game.
Competing with the Premier League’s top clubs while playing an easy on the eye brand of football deserves enormous praise. Playing home matches at Wembley was supposed to test that and once more Pochettino’s Spurs have responded so it is clear what the next goal will be in the coming season or two.
“We are not a club who are going to buy trophies. We are a club who are going to deserve trophies,” Pochettino proudly stated. That will be true and the question is whether Tottenham can do that before their Poch or Kane and his troops are lured away.