And so the Tottenham managerial merry go round picks up another passenger. This time the man taken for a spin will be Mauricio Pochettino, the highly rated manager of last season’s surprise package Southampton, who has agreed to a five-year deal. The former Argentine international turned manager comes with a reputation for high intensity, high pressing, attacking football which sounds eerily close to the mythical “Tottenham” way. On the other hand it also sounds very similar to the type of football that Andre Villas-Boas was supposedly trying to instill at the club. There are several things that Pochettino will have to do – and do quickly, given Chairman Daniel Levy’s impatience – if he wants to keep the job for longer than a season.
1) Get the team to buy into his ideas – and quickly
First things first, Pochettino will have to get the team on his side quickly. Tottenham have a number of relatively high profile internationals on their books, some of whom have been brought in at great expense. Pochettino will have to prove to these players that his methods can work and that he can make the team play better. Given the relative youth of the team this task should be easier than it would be at say Chelsea or Manchester United, but Tottenham is still a big step up in terms of profile and expectation from Southampton. Pochettino will have to make the players believe that he is up to the task.
2) Work out his best team
One of Tottenham’s big problems last season was that neither AVB nor Tim Sherwood ever seemed to be able to get a decent grip on what their best team was. In a sense, both were put in a tough position. AVB oversaw the arrival of seven new players with no Premier League experience alongside the departure of several players (not just Gareth Bale) who played key roles in the team the season before. Tim Sherwood had to take over half way through the season so he too had to work out his best team on the fly. In the end neither succeeded. Pochettino, by contrast, should have some time over the summer to work out who will fit into his tactical schemes. Spurs are unlikely to bring in a vast quantity of new names this summer after last summer’s debacle, so Pochettino should have the pre-season to plan what he wants to do. Of course he doesn’t necessarily have to stick to the team he chooses at the beginning but the team will probably benefit from at least a general idea of who will be playing where from week to week.