Written by @simplydave_
Spurs and Pochettino’s success has been a point of contention among rival fans for the last few seasons. The fact that they have made monumental strides without winning trophies is seen as a detracting factor. For me, that’s ludicrous, especially considering the state Spurs were in when Pochettino took over.
Poch was appointed for the 14/15 season. To give you some context, this was the after season that the Bale money was wasted and they saw players like Paulinho and Chadli bought it. A team with Roberto Saldado and Adebayor as the main attacking options going into the season. Imagine. An overhaul was desperately needed at the club and Mauricio wasted no time in doing so. Opting for young players like Mason, Benteleb, Dier and of course Harry Kane instead of ‘experienced’ pros. Their first season was reasonably successful, they finished 5th, 6 points behind United. Harry Kane finished with 21 league goals and 31 in all comps - at 21 years old. Progress.
In the next season performance levels increased. Spurs were an entirely different animal. Alderweireld, Alli and Son became regular features of the team - with Alderweireld forming a formidable partnership with Vertonghen at the back. The relentless pressing that we’ve come to expect from Pochettino sides became more evident. They were the best defensive side in the division - conceding 35 goals as well as the second best going forward scoring 69. Harry Kane went a long way to dispel the one season wonder claims by scoring 25 league goals and winning his first golden boot. This was also Alli’s breakout season. 10 goals for the teenager and eye catching performances. The team managed to finish 3rd in a two horse race behind eventual winners Leicester and North London rivals Arsenal. A draw against 10th place Chelsea and getting slapped 5-1 by Newcastle didn’t exactly help their cause. A positive to take from that season was they were the best side, regardless of league position.
16/17 saw further improvement. Tottenham finished 2nd behind a record breaking Chelsea side and also reached the semi-final of the FA Cup. This season turned Spurs into the efficient machine that we see today. Relentless pressing, solid defensively and with one of the most complete strikers we’ve seen in the Premier League era. Additions of Wanyama and Sissoko provided them with some pace and power to compliment the silky ability of players like Eriksen and the ghost of Lamela. Spurs started slowly, drawing a lot of games early on. However, once they hit their stride they were virtually unstoppable. Alli and Son hit 20 goals in all competitions as supplementary forwards, while Eriksen added around 20 assists. Kane enjoyed his most productive season in the league scoring 29 goals in 30 games.
The identity that Pochettino implemented into this side was obvious to see. Elite organisation, pressing high up the pitch and tactical flexibility - being able to switch between 343 and 4231 effortlessly. Pochettino is top 3 coaches in the league, in my opinion top 2. He’s turned Tottenham into a team able to play expansive football or absorb pressure and hit sides on the counter. Such flexibility is needed, especially while they look to advance in Europe. The progress made by both has been staggering and I expect the trophies to follow. Their biggest objective at the moment should be keeping Harry Kane. While him and Pochettino are at Spurs, the sky is the limit.