Mauricio Pochettino shows that patience will pay off for Tottenham

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Tottenham's 1-1 draw against North London rivals Arsenal was more than just a point gained, it was a point made for manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The match at the Emirates Stadium came at the right time for the Argentine, as it turns out. After losing at home to West Brom the previous weekend, struggling to overcome a stubborn Nottingham Forest side in the League Cup in midweek and failing to find any fluidity in attack or organisation in defence, the derby was a case of sink or swim.

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Defensive solidity

Undoubtedly Pochettino looked at Tottenham's biggest test so far - the 3-0 home loss to Liverpool - and decided his side would not be so exposed at the back against a technically proficient Gunners side.

Kyle Naughton replaced Eric Dier and performed well in a very defensive role that was mirrored in Danny Rose's positioning on the left. Tottenham sat deep and allowed Arsenal to have the ball, a tactic which was helped by the lack of pressing up front.

It did not take long for Pochettino to lambast Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen for failing to work hard enough to retrieve the ball in the first half. The ex-Southampton boss likes to win possession high up the pitch but in recent weeks Spurs have not shown enough desire to follow the manager's instincts, instead being laboured in possession and in defence.

Jan Vertonghen's recall was a relief as the Belgian is a classy operator when he chooses to be, while Younes Kaboul had his best game in a long while. There were counter-attacking opportunities but too often a wrong decision was made, a pass went astray, and its clear that the attacking unit needs more cohesion. However, defensively they were superb.

“The players did well with the strategy we prepared and congratulations to them, they were very compact, aggressive and showed the personality to go forward as well,” Pochettino told the club's offical website.

Second-half approach

Pochettino looked to surprise Arsenal in the second half and pushed Nacer Chadli further upfield and the manager's demands for a high pressing line worked as Eriksen dispossessed Mathieu Flamini before the ball fell to Erik Lamela who played in the Belgian to slot home.

This was the high pressing working to a tee - several men quickly closing the opposition and forcing the mistake, one pass and a strike at goal.

That moment could pay big dividends in the long run if the players realise the potential rewards for their efforts. While the defensive solidity needs to be maintained - especially on their travels to the big teams - it is important that the likes of Adebayor and Eriksen buy in to the new man's gameplan.


Some players have quickly adjusted to the new regime. Chadli looks ten times the player he was last season, Lamela looks hungry and willing while Rose has made a mockery of those who thought his Spurs career was over with the arrival of Ben Davies.

These players had something to prove, in one way or another, so it is no surprise that those who are taking longer to acclimatise are those who flourished, relatively, despite the chaos of last season.

If Pochettino can convince the more reluctant members of the Tottenham squad to buy into his methods and tactics, then he has more than enough talent at his disposal to meet the expectations placed on him.

Naturally, there will be a few changes here and there but with the games coming thick and fast the former Espanyol coach may begin to identify those players who are going to form the core of his side and begin to select more regular lineups.

The point was well deserved, but the result and the methods used may have a bigger impact on the future of Pochettino and Tottenham.

If the manager can continue to impress his ethos on the players and have the results show on the pitch, then the more belief the players, fans, and those watching will have in Pochettino, and the more success will come to White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino
Premier League

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