Top five priorities for Pochettino at Tottenham

Tottenham have confirmed the appointment of Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino who will take charge at White Hart Lane.

The 42-year-old Argentine coach has been commended for his work at St Mary’s with Southampton whom he took charge of only last year. Here are his five priorities in his new position, as Tottenham Hotspur manager.

1) Youth

His work to bring through a number of academy graduates and integrate the Saints’ youth into the first team has seen some of the emergence of some of the most promising British talent for generations come through, some of whom have been included in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

The likes of Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Kyle Naughton, Tom Carroll, Harry Kane, Andros Townsend and Nabil Bentaleb will surely represent the future of the club and Spurs fans will be hoping that under the new manager, those players can emulate the success of Luke Shaw, Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana at St Mary’s this term.

2) Transfers Out

The newly appointed Spurs boss will need to assess what aspects of the old regime at White Hart Lane he wishes to carry forward into the future. Whilst Andre Villas-Boas was sacked in December last year and replaced by Tim Sherwood who was sacked earlier this month, it was not all doom and gloom over the course of either coach’s reign.

A number of new players were brought in by Villas-Boas last summer, following (and financed by) the sale of Gareth Bale for a world record fee, and whilst some of those new arrivals found it difficult to adapt to the Premier League initially, there is a lot of talent within the Spurs ranks.

Players like Erik Lamela, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Paulinho and Lewis Holtby came in under Villas-Boas to varying degrees of success in the last 18 months with, for example, Eriksen and Paulinho cementing their status in the first team over the course of the season but Capoue and Lamela both suffered injury and lack of fitness and form, whilst Soldado has struggled to hit his stride.

3) Transfers In

Next, the new boss will have to decide what his requirements will be coming in this summer in the transfer window – will he opt to bring in players with big names and likely big fees or will he opt for lesser known targets or young players with potential? We will see in his activity in the market this summer what his philosophy will likely be at White Hart Lane, in terms of his team setup, style approach as well as his vision for the future. One would also expect Pochettino to be keen to bring in at least one of Southampton’s best players and his arrival will surely give Spurs the upper hand in the battle to sign their aforementioned starlets ahead of the competition this summer.

4) Style

The Villas-Boas setup was wholly different from the Tottenham of Harry Redknapp and, likewise, the Tim Sherwood Spurs were another thing all together – what will Pochettino’s Spurs be? Judging by his work at Southampton, the North Londoners will likely remain an attacking, expansive, and ambitious side as they were under both Villas-Boas and Redknapp.

I would expect Pochettino to get Spurs playing in an attacking, pressing manner that focuses on dominating possession for the most part, changing shape accordingly without the ball, and breaking quickly on the counter when they turnover.

5) System

I would expect Tottenham to revert back from their 4-4-2 under Sherwood to a 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1 under the Argentine who was heavily influenced by the philosophy of Marcelo Bielsa of Olympique Marseille, who also influenced the likes of former Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino and was a prominent figure in Argentine football. Pep Guardiola even described Bielsa as ‘the best manager in the world’.

Pochettino’s setup with the Saints focused a lot on the spare man in the attacking third, which plays into Bielsa’s three or even four attackers when the team has the ball and the transition between the shape without the ball to winning is back which is quick, systematic and, oftentimes, devastating, in the same manner that previous Louis van Gaal teams have shown.

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