Tottenham youth performance highlights massive Pochettino influence

Spurs lost to Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup, but Tottenham have much to look forward to.

A 5-4 aggregate defeat to Chelsea meant that the Blues progressed to another FA Youth Cup Final, leaving Tottenham Hotspur to rue the 2-0 advantage they let slip from the first leg.

While the result is hardly what was wanted by Spurs, the performance proved one key thing - that Mauricio Pochettino is changing the club from top to bottom.

Whereas some managers would come to a club and focus specifically on the first-team squad, Pochettino has arrived and has instilled a system to utilise youth players to their best ability.

If able to develop youngsters in the same system as used by the senior team, it means that, if needed, Pochettino can promote from within the club, rather than splashing the cash on a new signing. While youth players could be promoted and thrust into the team without prior warning, Pochettino has his young teams playing the same system as his senior side, meaning the transition is seamless.

And not only were Tottenham’s youth team playing an attacking 4-2-3-1 during the game against Chelsea, they were doing so in an even more Pochettino-esque method.

In the senior side, due to player limitations, the front four are fairly rigid with their positioning. Andros Townsend is only effective on the right side, whereas Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele are vying for the number 10 role, being less influential elsewhere.

However, the youth team utilised a free-flowing attacking unit, rotating all four forwards to good effect. There were some issues - including a lack of defensive knowledge resulting in space in the midfield which Chelsea capitalised upon - but the attacking threat was obvious. These weaknesses will disappear with age and experience, and the ability to fulfil a number of roles will make the youngsters valuable stars.

When Pochettino arrived at the club it was expected that Spurs would be looking to create a clone of Southampton’s success, and their focus on youth appears to be showing such an effect. With the youngsters being trained in the Argentine coach’s mould, but to a greater effect than the senior players, there is no doubt that the future is even brighter than the present for the North London club.

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