Mauricio Pochettino outlines what off-pitch factor has been important in Tottenham's title charge


The Spurs manager says he ensures that all of his players embrace the culture and identity of England and the club, including learning English.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has highlighted to the Sun that a significant off-field factor in his club's success this season has been his emphasis on ensuring his players fully embrace English culture.

Spurs are enjoying their finest league campaign in recent memory and look odds-on to secure at least a top-two finish, which would be their highest placing since they finished as runners-up in 1963, two years after their double-winning season.

What has caught the headlines even more than just their league position has been the fact that Pochettino has built his side's success on a talented core of young English players, including Premier League top scorer Harry Kane, breakthrough talent Dele Alli, and fellow Three Lions internationals Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, and Danny Rose.

That has been in keeping with the Argentine manager's policy during his days at Southampton, where although he himself often needed the help of a translator for his press conferences and interviews, he built a side around such talent as Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse, and Calum Chambers.

The 44-year-old has mastered English himself over the past few years, and he admitted that he has chosen to build his Spurs team around the concept that an English club should boast players and culture from the country in order to be successful.

Pochettino told the Sun: "English is important, as was Spanish when I first arrived in Spain. I don’t look at [players'] passports before I play them, but it’s important if you’re in Italy, Spain, England or France to show respect and try to keep the identity of the club.

"We are living in England, you can’t be in an English club using Argentinian culture or French, Italian, or whatever. It’s important for the foreign players who come here to know they have to integrate themselves in your culture, the English culture, and not the opposite way.

"It happens a lot, not just in football. In football, if the manager is Argentinian, he brings a lot of Argentinian players — or Spanish people if he is Spanish. For me it does not work. It can work for a short period but not for a long time. It was my own idea. I’ve not copied anyone. It’s worked so far. So far, so good."

Whatever Pochettino's magic formula has been at White Hart Lane this season, it has clearly worked - after steering them to fifth place in his first season at the club last term, he has turned them into genuine title contenders this year.

Though they face a big uphill struggle to overhaul Leicester at the top of the table - ahead of tonight's clash with West Brom they sit eight points adrift of the Foxes - three points would virtually assure them of at least a place as runners-up.

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