Mauricio Pochettino has been given a five-year deal to succeed Tim Sherwood as Tottenham Hotspur’s head coach on the strength of his success at developing players at Southampton. The Argentine will be expected to work with the squad he inherits at White Hart Lane rather than conduct any large-scale overhaul.
Pochettino’s move to White Hart Lane was formalised on Tuesday night and it is the manner of his achievements at Southampton that appealed to Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman. Last summer Levy sanctioned a £107m spending spree but this close season will be significantly quieter in Levy’s corner of north London and Pochettino will not receive anything like a similar transfer budget.
Southampton are keen to replace Pochettino with Gus Poyet but face a struggle to lure the former Brighton manager back to the south coast. Poyet has a release clause in his Sunderland contract which has to be triggered by the end of this month. The Uruguayan, who oversaw Sunderland’s remarkable escape from relegation, has been considering his future on holiday before he flies to Brazil to work as a pundit for ITV on the World Cup.
Unlike Poyet’s move into management, Pochettino arrived in this country as a relative unknown, having left his job at Espanyol. But his success in a season and a half at Southampton – they finished the last campaign in eighth, their best in the Premier League – and both the manner of his side’s football and the home-grown players who have flourished under his direction are the key factors in his appointment.
“In Mauricio I believe we have a head coach who, with his high energy, attacking football, will embrace the style of play we associate with our club,” said Levy. “He has a proven ability to develop each player as an individual, whilst building great team spirit and a winning mentality. We have a talented squad that Mauricio is excited to be coaching next season.”
Tim Sherwood's most entertaining moments
Tim Sherwood's most entertaining moments
1/6 Sherwood finds a replacement
In what was his final game in charge of Tottenham, in one of the funniest moments of the season, Sherwood invited a fan to take his place in the White Hart Lane dugout towards the end of the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa. Sherwood then directed the supporter to his own seat and gave the fan his famous gilet to wear. Sherwood explained afterwards: 'That guy sits up there every week I'm here, and he's telling me: 'Get him off he's rubbish, he's an embarrassment, he's this, he's that', so I invited him down to show what he can do. He half-bottled it at first but in the end he took it up.'
2/6 Saluting Adebayor
Cringe! When Sherwood replaced AVB the first thing he did was recall Emmanuel Adebayor. It worked out great with the striker banging in the goals on his return. Sherwood couldn't hide his pleasure when the Togo forward scored against Sunderland, giving his player a salute which was returned.
3/6 Fighting with Jesus
Sherwood accused his Benfica counterpart Jorge Jesus of 'lacking class' following their meeting in the Europa League. For some bizarre reason Jesus waved three fingers in Sherwood's direction after his side scored a late goal to make the score 3-1 at White Hart Lane. It stemmed from Jesus shooing Sherwood out of the Benfica technical area earlier in the match. The pair didn't shake hands at full-time.
4/6 Gilet throwing
The gilet received almost as much attention as Sherwood during his brief reign. It was the fashion choice that divided the football world. Whether Sherwood decided he'd had enough of it or was angry at seeing his side concede an early goal to local rivals Arsenal, either way he threw it in down the tunnel.
5/6 Criticising his players
The former Blackburn captain had no qualms about openly criticising his players and at one stage told them all that they were playing for their futures. He explained: 'I'm a manager, not a babysitter'.
More than anything else, Sherwood will be remembered for speaking his mind while in charge of Tottenham. Just last weekend, with speculation over his future increasing, he was happy to explain how he saw the situation: 'I am doing this job with a lot of uncertainty around my future,' he said. 'If you have a supply teacher who comes into your school, sometimes they are not treated with the respect that a headmaster is.'
Charlie Forgham-Bailey/The Independent
The 42-year-old, who favours an intense pressing and possession game, brought through a raft of young players at Southampton, something he did at Espanyol as well, with the likes of Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw all winning international recognition, while older players like Rickie Lambert have also found a new lease of life under Pochettino’s direction. Tottenham hope he will have a similar affect at White Hart Lane, and rouse the likes of Erik Lamela, his fellow Argentine, who endured a miserable first season in England after becoming the club’s £30m record signing.
“I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to be head coach,” said Pochettino. “There is an abundance of top-class talent at the club. We are determined to give the supporters the kind of attacking football and success that we are all looking to achieve.”
Pochettino brings with him his backroom staff from St Mary’s in assistant manager Jesus Perez, first-team coach Miguel D’Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez. As head coach Pochettino will work to a technical director, currently Franco Baldini. The Italian’s future remains unsure, as does that of Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey, formerly Tim Sherwood’s assistants.
Shaw, soon to follow his former manager out the door, tweeted his gratitude to Pochettino, describing him as a “great manager and a great guy”.
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