Mauricio Pochettino is an avid Formula One racing fan, and he used an analogy from the popular racing series to help explain the razor thin margins at the top of the Premier League.
“You can be a winner but if you don’t have the tools to win, it’s difficult,” Pochettino said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tottenham’s match against Newcastle United on Saturday. “If you have the car to win and you are good, then you win.”
Pochettino seemed to hint at his disappointment of injury-riddled Tottenham failing to add reinforcements in the January transfer window, the second straight window they have come up empty. Specifically, Pochettino pointed to Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, winner of four of the last five titles with Mercedes, and compared him to 17-year veteran Fernando Alonso, a two-time Formula One champion who has struggled of late driving for McClaren.
“If you have the same car as another who is good, then one is going to win and the other is going to lose,” he said. “Take the example of Fernando Alonso and compare with Hamilton. If you put Hamilton in McLaren last season and Alonso in Mercedes, it’s the same result: Hamilton at the bottom and Alonso at the top.”
Pochettino believes the same theory holds true in the Premier League, as coaches are looking to put their players in the best positions to win. His point is that most players at the top clubs in Europe are all capable of beings successful if they are pushed in training, drilled with the proper mentality, and utilized correctly on the field.
But after being serious – and as Pochettino put it, “too honest” – about the realistic chances of Tottenham competing for this year’s title, he ended the press conference with a lighthearted anecdote.
“McLaren lent [Tottenham chairman] Daniel [Levy] two cars for a week to try and Daniel gave me one to try,” Pochettino said. “So I used it once from my house to the training ground and it was so dangerous I gave it back. It was a good lesson.”