Football

Tottenham are serious contenders for Champions League qualification

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The appointment of Argentine Mauricio Pochettino from Premier League counterparts Southampton in 2014 came as quite a surprise to a number of Tottenham supporters, considering his lack of experience in England's top flight.

Pochettino was by no means the fans’ favourite for the hot-seat at White Hart Lane with the club urged to appoint a big name to guide Spurs back into the Champions League following a four-year absence.

Such is the way in football that two years into his role, Pochettino boasts the second highest win percentage of any Tottenham manager in the last 20 years behind Andre Villas-Boas.

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Huge progress

The former Southampton boss has guided Spurs to Europa League certainties to major Champions League qualification contenders after a strong start to this season. One defeat in 12 league games represents huge progress, with just five points separating Pochettino’s side and the top of the table.

The Argentine’s recruitment in the summer window and handling of young, emerging talent must be applauded as Spurs continue to target the Champions League places.

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All three summer recruits have settled well with Toby Alderweireld forming a strong partnership alongside Jan Vertonghen at the heart of the defence. Striker Son Heung-Min has certainly looked a threat but will need to stay fit if Pochettino’s side can sustain their Champions League push.

Fellow striker Clinton N’Jie has shown glimpses of quality since arriving in England from Ligue 1 side Lyon but he will also need to retain his fitness levels if he is to become a hit at White Hart Lane.

Success story

However, Pochettino’s recruitment of 19-year-old Dele Alli from League One MK Dons has been the real success story so far. Earning his first England call-up in October, Alli has established himself in the Spurs first team with a series of strong displays.

If he can remain grounded and unaffected by the hype circulating in the media, the former MK Dons star can certainly play an integral part in Tottenham’s Champions League hopes.

Pochettino has been unafraid to throw youngsters into the mix; a key part of his success at White Hart Lane to date. Spurs have the youngest average squad in the Premier League (24.6) and given time, Pochettino could inherit a squad capable of challenging at the top.

If indeed the Argentine can guide Tottenham back into the Champions League, his first three years in charge would have done a lot to silence any critics who were less than impressed with his appointment.

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Topics:
Mauricio Pochettino
Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur
Football

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