The clock is ticking on Mauricio Pochettino even after a run which has seen just two defeats in the opening ten games played this season.
After a winless start to the season, the knives were out for the Tottenham manager and the trigger happy, Daniel Levy, was just waiting in the wings.
Pochettino has a style of football, a system of play and a methodology that he wants to stick by, come rain or shine. For this, he must be applauded. He is a manager with limited experience and little success if judged by trophies in his personal trophy cabinet.
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After being thrown in at the deep end at Espanyol, which ended with him being sacked, Pochettino took over the reigns at Southampton. The Southampton squad were young, bright and hungry having just returned to the Premier League. The high-pressing game, which was also seen under the previous manager, Nigel Adkins, was further highlighted by the media as Southampton started brightly before tailing off.
Then came the opportunity to take over as head coach at Spurs and Pochettino took it with both hands - who could blame him. Over a year after his appointment, in May 2014, what have we learned?
Pretty soon, most Spurs fun feared this was another Andre Villas-Boas appointment. The swashbuckling days of the Harry Redknapp era were what every fan wanted to see. The prospect of a high-pressing, fast-paced, energetic team, playing attacking football had every supporter drooling in anticipation. It didn't happen.
Big summer clear out
Despite Pochettino trying to enforce his style of play on the players, they weren't having any of it and why would they. These were players, signed by other managers (or a now departed Director of Football). They were on big wages for doing relatively little, so why should they change? Pochettino faced a culture shift and needed to get players on-side or move them on. A good run in the League Cup helped. A disappointing final performance didn't.
During the summer transfer window, Pochettino moved on the deadwood from the squad, and there were lots to move on. The only player who remained, on a final chance, was Erik Lamela, a fellow Argentinian who it was always hoped his compatriot would get the best out of.
The season started and performances, it appeared, hadn't improved. Fans were still waiting for the free-flowing, high pressing, fast paced attacking football.
Instead, it seems they got slow paced, possession-based football which did little to excite. Pochettino though had a plan and was sticking to it. He was embedding players into their new roles and ensuring the defense was solid after a shocking previous season where the team shipped a lot of goals.
Reason to be excited
With a young squad, including newly-acquired Dele Alli, playing alongside Eric Dier, in a new holding midfield position, the team slowly began to gel. Harry Kane, the shining light from last season has scored just once, however, this took away from his performances of industry and overall contribution to the team.
Kane's work rate is similar to Wayne Rooney - you just know he'd do anything for the team, which was seen when last season he volunteered to play in goal in a Europa League game.
Performances are still patchy, still inconsistent and not yet where Pochettino wants the squad to be. We have to remember, though, that these players are young, they're learning their trade. Most are under the age of 25 and have yet to peak. The positive displays, though, far outweigh the negative. The way that this team took apart Manchester City proves that. There will be off days. There will be disappointments. However, with a new stadium on the horizon, now is the time for Daniel Levy to remain strong, stick with the manager and this young team. This is our future, and the future is looking bright, at the moment, under the leadership of Pochettino.
A run of disappointing results is probably just around the corner, but, for a change, Levy must push the club forward by keeping the faith and not taking a backward step.
Spurs fans: Do you think Pochettino is the right man to take you to the next level? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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