The echoes of Sir Alex Ferguson in Pochettino’s management style
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino once met Sir Alex Ferguson for lunch at a London seafood restaurant in 2016.
The Argentine described that meeting with the legendary Scotsman as a “dream come true.”
Less than two years later and the Spurs boss is now dining at the top table in managerial terms too.
At the weekend, the 46-year-old guided the North Londoners to a first league victory over arch-rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 1990.
He is the 12th Tottenham manager to have attempted the feat since Terry Venables but the first to achieve it.
That victory could prove to be a landmark moment for Spurs. But it’s only a stitch in the tapestry that Pochettino is sewing north of the river.
What he is doing – and the way he’s doing it – draws comfortable parallels with Ferguson and his reign at United.
Most notably those comparisons are drawn through the promotion of youth.
Ferguson was famed for giving youngsters a chance, most obviously with his faith in the Class of 92.
Harry Winks, Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Eric Dier have all thrived under the guidance of Pochettino.
In total, 15 players have gone on to make England debuts after working with the Argentine at both Southampton and Spurs. That is some track record.
And it’s one that only looks set to continue with stars like Kyle Walker-Peters, Josh Onomah and Kazaiah Sterling waiting in the wings.
Not many Premier League managers have the courage to place their trust and ultimately their job in the hands of youth. Pochettino does. And he’s not been let down.
In-fact it has underpinned the excellent work that is being done at Wembley this season. It also provides vital foundations for the future.
Equally, the ex-Espanyol manager doesn’t shy away from making difficult decisions.
Defender Toby Alderweireld has been the subject of reports linking him away from North London in the last few months.
Pochettino has acted by benching the Belgian defender and more recently leaving him out of the squad altogether.
While managers including Arsene Wenger bend to the demands of the individual (think Alexis Sanchez), the Tottenham boss is stamping his authority on the team.
Ferguson was renowned for that aspect of his management at Old Trafford.
Jaap Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Beckham all crossed the Scotsman’s path. All three were subsequently jettisoned by the Red Devils.
Pochettino appears to be practicing the same philosophy with Tottenham. And with Spurs continuing to pick up points, it appears to be a system that is working.
On top of it all, the North Londoners are also playing excellent football.
For most people’s money, Spurs have been among the top two or three sides in the country since the Argentine joined the club in 2015.
He has impressed a philosophy on a club that for a long while had lost its way. The former centre-half is building something with Spurs.
And the way he is going about it provides us with more than an echo of what Sir Alex Ferguson started at Manchester United all those years ago.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication