Mauricio Pochettino has NEVER won a trophy in 12 years as a manager after agony in two finals and three semis at Tottenham… but he can lift his first ever piece of silverware TONIGHT, just days after taking charge at PSG
- Mauricio Pochettino has another chance to win the first trophy of his career
- His PSG side face Marseille in the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday night
- The Argentine suffered some agonising near misses during his time at Spurs
- Pochettino grew frustrated as his philosophy failed to pay off in big games
- He is expected to win in Paris, but silverware will mean everything to him
It was the monkey on his back throughout his entire career at Tottenham. Now, just days into his PSG tenure, Mauricio Pochettino has the chance to end his trophy hoodoo in the Trophee des Champions final against Marseille.
While it might be the French equivalent of the Community Shield, they say a trophy is a trophy – and that will be exactly the philosophy the Argentine will take on as he walks out with his new players and bids to see off fellow former Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas.
Pochettino seems to have all the tools to create success in the French capital – including superstars like World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria, and getting his first piece of silverware in the bag will certainly help him sleep better in Paris.
Mauricio Pochettino can finally break his trophy duck by beating Marseille on Wednesday
His team at PSG are ready-made for success and he is expected to win big in the French capital
He built an impressive legacy at Spurs but it was tainted by a constant failure to win silverware
And understandably so, given the mental torment he suffered in his failure to secure one at Spurs. And how close he came too – coming up short in two finals and three semi-finals.
Just like with PSG, Pochettino also had the opportunity to snatch a first trophy in his first season at Tottenham in 2015 – although it was a much more daunting task against an experienced Chelsea side managed by Jose Mourinho.
By way of comparison, his youthful Spurs team had an average age of 24 and were full of rough diamonds – but none who could make the difference on the big day. Goals from John Terry and Diego Costa were enough to win it for the Blues, but the message from the north Londoners was one of positivity.
‘These players are young and will learn from this, Pochettino needs time’.
His young Spurs side came up short in 2015 as they were beaten by an experienced Chelsea
But sadly, they never did learn how to win a trophy under his leadership, and neither did the Argentine.
His next big chance came two years later against the same tricky opponent at the same venue of Wembley. This time it was the FA Cup semi-final, with Antonio Conte his opposite number this time.
After Willian had twice put Chelsea in front, Spurs hit back through Harry Kane and Dele Alli but Eden Hazard struck late on and a Nemanja Matic wonder goal from distance dashed any hopes of a place in the final.
Just like after their cup final loss to the Blues, Pochettino insisted he was ‘proud’ of the team and said Chelsea were simply more clinical, but there was a resentment beginning to build among the Tottenham faithful – who were growing tired of their reputation as ‘bottlers’ on the big occasion.
The Blues tormented them once again two years later in the 2017 FA Cup semi-finals
Pochettino insisted he was ‘proud’ of his players but Spurs fans began to grow frustrated
Spurs failed to banish that label after reaching the same stage of the FA Cup the following season. It was case of Deja Vu as Tottenham had their dreams crushed by Mourinho once again – as Manchester United came from a goal down to win the 2017-18 semi-final 2-1.
It was after this game that the cracks started to show in Pochettino’s faith that his Spurs project would finally lift off, admitting ‘we are close but we cannot reach’ and said they were ‘a long way’ from the level they wanted.
‘To compete in this type of game, I think we are ready to compete – but win is different,’ he said. ‘The most important [thing] is that we are in this process, that after four years we can compete and that is fantastic.
A dismal defeat to United at the same stage in 2018 prompted Pochettino to claim Spurs were ‘a long way’ from winning trophies
‘But the disappointment and frustration is that we are close but we cannot reach. I told your colleague before that with me or another coaching staff the club needs to push on, working in this direction and will be fantastic one day for Tottenham to reach the same level as the clubs like Manchester United and Manchester City. But a long way to work to arrive at this next level.’
It turns out he was right as the 2018-19 season brought another semi-final loss to Chelsea – this time in the Carabao Cup – before his most agonising day in charge came in the Champions League final.
His players had sealed the biggest night in their history with a dramatic stoppage time win over Ajax in the semi-finals, an achievement that seemed impossible with the team 3-0 down on aggregate at half time. When Lucas Moura’s shot rippled the net, you sensed it was destiny that Pochettino would go on to land his first cup – and the biggest of them all.
But it all went up in smoke pretty quickly as an early Mo Salah penalty took the wind out of their sails in the Madrid showpiece, and despite bossing the ball, his nervous stars couldn’t find a breakthrough and were finished off by Divock Origi.
His most agonising day came in the 2019 Champions League final as they lost 2-0 to Liverpool
His tenure started to go downhill soon after and he was sacked by Spurs in November 2019
Pochettino’s expression after the full-time whistle was a picture of frustration – and it turned out to be the moment that truly finished him off. Nothing was the same since that night – not with him or his players as Spurs began to sink into mid-table the following season.
Reports began circulating that he began watching training sessions from indoors before ultimately being sacked in November. The loss in Madrid was one disappointment too many and the final straw in his patience as many accused him of simply not wanting to be at the club anymore.
So was it Pochettino or Tottenham? Some believe the Argentine’s relentless high-pressing tactics took their toll on his players late on in the season, and were too easy to bypass in a big game.
At PSG, Pochettino may have the personnel he needs to secure victory on the big occasion
At PSG he is expected to not only win – but win big too. The Parisiens are used to taking home most of the domestic trophies, so Pochettino won’t earn any special praise if he brings this one home. But given the absence of any honours on his CV, this will mean the world to him.
Marseille haven’t had the brightest of starts to the Ligue 1 season, currently sitting in sixth place after just one win their last five – but still pose a huge threat with stars like Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin.
Meanwhile, Pochettino will be boosted to have Neymar back in training and could have him available for selection.
Pochettino is already up and running with his first win – overseeing a 3-0 win over Brest – but he’ll have plenty of adapting to do.
At Spurs his philosophy was playing a young team of players with potential. Here, he has a team of superstars ready to deliver for him. Perhaps this team will finally help him deliver too.
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