The reign of Mauricio Pochettino: One year on

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It’s been nearly a year since Nigel Adkins was sacked as manager of Southampton and immediately replaced by Argentinian manager and former player Mauricio Pochettino.

Born, Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero in March 1972 in the town of Murphy, Santa
Fe in Argentina. Playing in the centre-back position, Mauricio began his own career as a youth player at a team called Newell’s Old Boys which is based in the city of Rosario in the province of Santa Fe.

He then turn professional at the same club at the age of 17 and spent five senior years at the club, making 153 appearances and scoring eight goals.

Pochettino then moved over to Spain during the 1994/95 season after signing for Espanyol, who he later went on to manage, staying for six-and-a-half years. He made 216 appearances and scored 11 goals.

During the stay he helped the club win the 2000 Copa Del Rey. In January 2001, Pochettino signed for French giants Paris Saint-Germain. Again, he was a regular starter for the side making 70 apperances and scoring two goals in his two-and-a-half year stay. He went on to sign for another Ligue 1 team, Bordeaux.

Midway through the first year for the club he returned to Espanyol - initially on loan - and made a permanent switch back to the club in 2004. He also managed to break into the Argentina international side in 1991, and made three appearances for their Under-20 side and then went on to play for their senior side in 1999, playing 20 games and scoring twice.

In January 2009, Pochettino became manager of his former team, Espanyol. He spent under four years there after he was sacked in September 2012 after a 0–2 home loss against Getafe CF that left Espanyol in the last place with just nine points from 13 matches.

On January 18th 2013, Pochettino was unveiled as Southampton manager the same day as Nigel Adkins was sacked. This made Mauricio only the second Argentine manager in English football, the first one being Ossie Ardiles. 

The sacking of Adkins was a controversial move by Saints chairman Nicola Cortese. But fans now, are probably seeing it as not such a bad move. His 39 games in charge of the Saints have been a fairly set of equal results; totalling 13 wins, 13 losses and 13 draws (33.33% percentage in each).

Adkins managed 26 games with Southampton in the Premier League - winning seven of those, drawing six, and losing 13.

It’s been revealed that Mauricio Pochettino and his staff seem to adopt some “unusual” techniques to ensure his players are at the top of their game and at the highest fitness. This entails saliva and well-being test every morning shortly after they arrive to training at 9:15am.

Each first-team player at attendance to training takes part in a question and answer test on an iPad relating to how they generally feel, how well they each slept and whether they are feeling fit and fresh. Within 15 minutes of the test being completed, the results are scanned and analysed and uploaded to Pochettino's computer. If the test says that a player(s) are not 100% fit, dehydrated or attempt to beat the test, they are unable to train.

He also gets a lot of stick from many people for his “inability” to speak English during interviews and communicating through an interpreter. Pochettino can speak English but he has said he uses an interpreter to express himself fully during interviews and to ensure nothing is misinterpreted by the media.

Pochettino prefers an attacking style of play building very high pressure from the back, which helps to intimidate and unsettle many of Southampton’s opponents. He favours the 4-2-3-1 formation.

Many pundits have hailed Pochettino for focusing on young, local players at the club to develop and break in to the first-team. The three main players that Pochettino has integrated into the first-team this season are 18-year-old Calum Chambers, Harrison Reed and Sam Gallagher.

Chambers made his first-team debut in Southampton’s first game of the 2013/14 season away to West Bromwich Albion, replacing the injured Nathaniel Clyne, and has gone on to make a further 11 appearances for the club most recently in the 3-0 defeat to Chelsea at St Mary’s on New Year's Day.

Reed is another player that Pochettino appears to be impressed by. Making his debut for the team as an 81st minute substitute in a Capital One Cup tie against Barnsley. He made his first start for the team in a Capital One Cup game against Sunderland which Southampton lost 2-1.

Reed made his Premier League debut as a 90th minute substitute for Southampton against Manchester City at St Mary’s.

The final player that has been finding his name in the team sheets of late is Sam Gallagher. Yet to make a first-team start for the club, he’s twice come on as a substitute for Southampton, making his first appearance in a League Cup game against Sunderland, replacing Gastón Ramírez in the 79th minute.

Gallagher made his first appearance in the Premier League in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United coming on as a substitute in the 89th minute.

Jay Rodriguez has praised his manager saying that he is playing the best football of his career. Rodriguez has said that Pochettino has showed him the way to play which has given him confidence and belief which has helped massively. Which is reflected as being Southampton’s top goalscorer so far this season.

As well as Rodriguez, other players are improving themselves under Pochettino, namely (in my opinion), Adam Lallana, James Ward-Prowse, Luke Shaw and Artur Boruc. With all four, as well as Rodriguez, all being called-up by their respective international teams, their performances have been highly rated by myself and other fans across social networking sites.

With the transfer window now open, fans will be hoping a few new additions is added to the
squad. The performances of late could be due to the lack of Boruc in the Southampton goal, so Southampton could be looking to bring in a goalkeeper to act as first choice back up.

QPR’s Julio Cesar has been rumoured. Another player that has been in the rumour mill for a couple of transfer windows is Calgari centre-back Davide Astori. He could be a welcome addition to the squad, acting as back-up for José Fonte or Dejan Lovren should their partnership break-up due to injury or illness.

However, Pochettino could, if wanted, include Astori with Fonte and Lovren and shake up his formations putting five players at the back. Which could build even more pressure from the back and unsettle more opponents with Astori added.

Pochettino’s current deal expires at the end of next season but I’m sure and hoping that Cortese - who the Argentine has a close relationship with - will soon offer him a new contract to deter any interest from clubs to bring Pochettino to their club.

Pochettino next takes charge of a Premier League game with the visit of West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, who Southampton beat at The Hawthorns on the opening day of this season.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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