All hail King Poch! Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino’s vision and impact are best in the Premier League
- Tottenham beat West Ham 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a goal from Erik Lamela
- Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won seven of their first nine League matches
- The Spurs boss is doing a remarkable job despite several notable challenges
Should Tottenham defeat Manchester City at Wembley next Monday evening, Mauricio Pochettino’s side will move ahead of Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut 10 games into the season.
This, in itself, appears a remarkable possibility and it speaks for the continuing, improbable excellence of the Argentine’s management. It does feel rather deceptive. Spurs have not been particularly stylish this season.
Harry Kane has not recaptured his finest form, four of their seven wins have been by a one-goal margin and in the second half at the London Stadium, Pochettino was indebted to the brilliance of Hugo Lloris, who made a succession of crucial saves to deny Marko Arnautovic an equaliser.
Mauricio Pochettino is doing a remarkable job despite several testing challenges at Tottenham
Erik Lamela (centre) scored the only goal of the game as Spurs won at West Ham on Saturday
West Ham, who fear Andriy Yarmolenko will be out for six months with an ankle injury that saw him carried off on a stretcher in the first half, simply woke up too late. Their first half was flat and timid, undermined by stray passes and a lack of intensity. In the second period, they roused themselves, snapping into tackles, turning a procession into a scrap.
Yet Tottenham, on balance, just about merited this victory, earned through a lovely first-half header by Erik Lamela, and a glance at the Premier League table this morning should make for happy reading. This is Spurs’ greatest points return from the first nine games of a Premier League campaign.
Truly, Pochettino is overseeing the finest work in the division right now. If good management is defined by a vision of play and an ability to summon unity when confronted by adversity, Pochettino ticks every box.
He might have been ruffled by the stadium delays that have compelled his side to start with six away games in their first nine. Yet instead, his team remain in striking distance of the pack. He might have been ruffled by a summer without additions and he might have ostracised the want-aways such as Danny Rose, Mousa Dembele and Toby Alderweireld.
‘When you play for a win, you need to learn how to manage that pressure,’ Pochettino said
Instead, he champions the board’s hard work and reintegrated those players seamlessly. He might have been disheartened by injuries to Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Dembele but instead he has yielded improvements from Lamela and Harry Winks, while even Moussa Sissoko provided an excellent assist here.
Pochettino’s drive and positivity fuels Tottenham’s efforts.
We need only glance at the red team in Manchester to see how toxic and divided an environment can become when a manager turns on those around him.
Pochettino may be doing the best job in the Premier League but he must now salvage Tottenham’s flagging European campaign. After two defeats against Inter Milan and Barcelona, it is do-or-die in the next two games against PSV Eindhoven.
Having seen his side falter on must-win occasions last season, Pochettino now wants to see emotional maturity. He will be boosted by the return of Eriksen and Dembele.
Lamela and Pochettino shake hands after the match-winning midfielder is substituted off
Spurs return to Champions League action next, with no points taken from their first two games
‘I think we are so competitive over the last four and a half years but to win a title is the last step, to push the team and the club,’ he said.
‘All the must-win games in the past were against big teams ready to win titles and our performance wasn’t enough.
‘When you play for a win, you need to learn how to manage that pressure and the stress.
‘But when they offered me the job, the idea was to build a team for the Champions League in the moment we arrive in the new stadium.
‘This is our third Champions League in a row, one at White Hart Lane, three times at Wembley. We’re ahead of the project. We’re miles ahead.’
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