Mauricio Pochettino has certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons with his fiery comments.
Tottenham Hotspur’s manager told journalists that they should probably stop referring to him as that and just as Spurs’ head coach as he has nothing at all to do with buying or selling players or extending contracts.
Since then #BackPoch has been trending on Twitter and Tottenham’s fans have been lashing out at chairman Daniel Levy.
Pochettino’s title was changed from head coach to manager when he signed a new contract in 2016, but he believes it should now be changed again.
“I know nothing about the situation of my players,” Pochettino told journalists in Munich after Spurs beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the Audi Cup on Tuesday. “I am only coaching them and trying to get the best from them. Sell, buy players, sign contract, not sign contract – I think it is not in my hands, it’s in the club’s hands and [chairman] Daniel Levy. The club needs to change my title and description. Of course I am the boss deciding the strategic play, but in another area I don’t know. Today, I feel like I am the coach.”
Should we read too much into this?
Pochettino’s command of the English language has got better but sometimes he isn’t able to understand questions, however this doesn’t seem like a misunderstanding. Not at all.
The Argentine coach knows what he is doing here. He is cranking the pressure up on Levy to get deals over the line.
In previous press conferences this summer Pochettino has made it clear he doesn’t know anything about the arrival of new players and he wants everyone to know he cannot be blamed for the lack of new additions. Yes, Tanguy Ndombele has arrived for a club-record $80 million but that has been it. Youngster Jack Clarke has been loaned back to Leeds United for this season, so Spurs’ squad is pretty similar to what it was last season.
With William Saliba joining Arsenal over Spurs and Paulo Dybala now looking likely to head to Manchester United, two of Spurs’ top targets are going elsewhere in the PL.
Add to that Giovani Lo Celso not arriving and the futures of Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld not clear, plus losing Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid, and Pochettino doesn’t seem that impressed with what’s going on behind-the-scenes.
Spurs have played really well in preseason, for the most part. They’ve used plenty of youngsters like Troy Parrott, Anthony Georgiou and Oliver Skipp and have beat Juventus and Real Madrid and lost narrowly to Man United.
What Pochettino is saying is this: I am doing my job preparing this team for another season of overachievement on the pitch. Mr. Levy, can you do yours and bring in top-class players and sign our best players up to new contracts?
Ndombele’s arrival should have been the first of many given Spurs’ incredible run to the Champions League final and yet another top four finish last season amid playing most of the season at Wembley due to delays at their stunning new venue.
Perhaps Pochettino doesn’t want Levy and Spurs’ board to use the move to a new stadium as an excuse anymore. All in all, Poch seems pretty fed up that Spurs aren’t making the strides he would have hoped in terms of player recruitment this summer. Levy doesn’t deserve to be lambasted by Tottenham’s fans. He has helped them build a stunning new stadium, he hired Pochettino in the first place and he has always been the driver behind developing young talent in the academy.
But just like Pochettino should take his share of the blame for poor performances on the pitch, so too should Levy if he isn’t able to get deals across the line in the boardroom.
This could spell big trouble for Spurs, especially with Real Madrid continuing to struggle under Zinedine Zidane.
How long will it be until Pochettino heads to the Santiago Bernabeu if he and Levy start to lock horns on a more regular basis?
That might seem drastic now, but Pochettino is a man of principles and if he doesn’t feel like he is being supported properly he will walk away quickly.
Both Pochettino and Levy have worked wonders to get Spurs to where they are right now. The final step of winning a major trophy and consistently challenging for titles is the toughest hurdle to negotiate.
That pressure is already starting to show.