Mauricio Pochettino

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Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino 2016 (cropped).jpg
Pochettino as manager of Tottenham Hotspur in 2016
Personal information
Full name Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero[1]
Date of birth (1972-03-02) 2 March 1972 (age 48)[2]
Place of birth Murphy, Argentina
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)[2]
Playing position(s) Centre-back
Youth career
Newell's Old Boys
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1994 Newell's Old Boys 153 (8)
1994–2001 Espanyol 216 (11)
2001–2003 Paris Saint-Germain 70 (4)
2003–2004 Bordeaux 11 (1)
2004Espanyol (loan) 21 (1)
2004–2006 Espanyol 38 (1)
Total 509 (26)
National team
1991 Argentina U20 3 (0)
1992 Argentina U23 4 (0)
1999–2002 Argentina 20 (2)
Teams managed
2009–2012 Espanyol
2013–2014 Southampton
2014–2019 Tottenham Hotspur
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero (Spanish pronunciation: [mawˈɾisjo potʃeˈtino]; born 2 March 1972) is an Argentine professional football manager and former player, who was most recently the manager of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

As a centre-back, he spent 17 years as a professional player, ten of which were in La Liga with Espanyol where he scored 13 goals in 275 games and won two Copa del Rey trophies.[3] He also played in France for two clubs, Paris Saint-Germain and Bordeaux, having started his career with Newell's Old Boys. An Argentina international for three years, he represented the country at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 1999 Copa América and was capped 20 times.

Pochettino began his managerial career at Espanyol in January 2009, remaining in the post for almost four years. He then managed in the Premier League, first with Southampton where he led them to an eighth-place finish in the 2013–14 season – their highest league position since 2002–03, while also recording their highest points tally since the Premier League began in 1992–93.[citation needed]Following one season at Southampton, he became the new manager of Tottenham, whom he led to top-three finishes in three of his first four seasons.[4] In 2019, Pochettino led Tottenham to the Champions League final for the first time in the club's history.[5] After a run of poor domestic results, Pochettino was dismissed by Tottenham in November the same year.

Early life[edit]

Pochettino was born in Murphy, Santa Fe to Amalia and Héctor Pochettino, a farm labourer.[6] His family is of Italian descent from the Piedmont region.[7] Between the age of eight and ten, he played both football and volleyball, and also learned judo.[8] He supported Racing Club de Avellaneda as a child.[9] The first football match he watched on television was the 1978 FIFA World Cup which he watched with his father Héctor at the local sports club in Murphy, Centro Recreativo Unión y Cultura.[10] He started playing at an early age for Unión y Cultura, where he played as a centre-back, a position he preferred, but he has also played as a striker and midfielder.[6][11] When he was 13, he trained two days a week with Rosario Central in Rosario, Santa Fe, a 160 mile bus-ride away from Murphy.[12] He played in Murphy in the first division of the regional Venadense league together with his older brother Javier.[6] He studied agriculture in a school 20 miles from home.[11]

Club career[edit]

Newell's Old Boys[edit]

Pochettino with Newell's Old Boys in 1992

When he was 14, Pochettino was scouted by Jorge Griffa, director of football at Newell's Old Boys, and his future manager Marcelo Bielsa, then the reserve team coach at Newell's.[13] Although he was happy at Rosario Central who were interested in signing him, he was persuaded to try out for their rivals Newell's Old Boys in Rosario, Santa Fe. He was quickly placed in a team attending a tournament in Mar del Plata in January 1987, and helped the team win 3–2 in the final against Club Olimpia of Paraguay, after which he signed for Newell's.[9] He was offered a professional contract at 16, and made his first appearance in the Primera División in the 1988–89 season when he was 17.[14]

At Newell's he played in an intense, fast-paced, high press style of play under Bielsa who was first-team coach from 1990 to 1992.[15] Bielsa's coaching methods and philosophy would have a significant impact on the young player.[16]

During his five-year stint at the club, Pochettino won the 1990–91 national championship as well as the 1992 Clausura.[17] The side reached the final of the Copa Libertadores where they were beaten 3–2 in a penalty shoot-out by São Paulo after both teams drew 1–1 on aggregate over the course of two legs – Pochettino had previously netted a crucial goal away to Colombian champions América de Cali in the second match leg of their semi-final.[18] He played with Diego Maradona for a time, sharing a room before games.[19]

Espanyol[edit]

In 1994, Pochettino had the option of joining a number of clubs including Boca Juniors, but chose the Catalan club Espanyol even though it was the least financially attractive offer as he was interested in moving to the city of Barcelona.[20] Aged 22, Pochettino moved to Espanyol for the 1994–95 season, as part of the new intake of players upon their return to La Liga.[21] There he soon established himself as an automatic first-team starter, and developed a reputation as a tough, uncompromising central defender.[22] In February 1997, in the local derby against their rival Barcelona at the soon-to-be-demolished home ground Sarrià Stadium, Pochettino man-marked Ronaldo out the game, and helped the team win 2–0. It was their first win against Barcelona in ten years.[23][24]

He stayed six-and-a-half years at the club. Although he had the opportunity to move in number of occasions, he chose to stay, for example in 1998 when he stayed so as to reconnect with his former coach Bielsa, and he also rejected an offer from Valencia in the 1999–2000 season out of loyalty to the club.[25] In that season, he helped Espanyol beat Atlético Madrid in the 2000 final of the Copa del Rey, winning their first major trophy in 60 years.[26][27]

In the 1999–2000 season, he signed a pre-agreement to stay at the club for 6 more years contingent on funding. However, the club could not finance the deal, and informed Pochettino that he should accept an offer from Paris Saint-Germain.[28]

Paris-Saint Germain[edit]

In late January 2001, Pochettino signed for Paris Saint-Germain for an undisclosed fee.[29] A regular starter during his stay, he made his official league debut on 3 February 2001 by then manager Luis Fernández away to Nantes, which PSG lost 1–0.[30] Three days later, Pochettino netted his first goal in a 1–3 home defeat at the Parc des Princes against Guingamp.[31] His contributions led to Paris Saint-Germain winning the 2001 edition of the UEFA Intertoto Cup later in the 2001–02 season following a 1–1 draw with Brescia, which meant the Parisian side won on away goals,[32] as well as reaching the final of the Coupe de France the next season, where PSG lost 1–2 to Auxerre.[33][34]

Bordeaux[edit]

Two years later in July 2003, Pochettino moved to fellow Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux for the 2003–04 campaign.[35] His first game came on 2 August 2003 against Monaco in a 2–0 defeat.[36][37] Pochettino's first goal was on 23 August, thus helping Bordeaux overcome Auxerre with a 2–0 home victory.[37]

Return to Espanyol[edit]

During the 2004 summer transfer window, he returned to Espanyol however, initially on loan, before he later made the transfer permanent.[38] The return occurred midway through his first year,[39] where Pochettino continued to play for two-and-a-half more seasons. In the 2005–06 Copa del Rey, he was an unused substitute at the final, where Espanyol beat Zaragoza 4–1.[40][41]

Following the win, Ernesto Valverde took over as manager in the summer of 2006, but he did not want Pochettino in the squad for the coming season.[42] Pochettino announced his retirement as a player at the age of 34.[43] He studied for a master degree in sports management at a business school before training to be a coach in Madrid a year later.[44][45]

International career[edit]

In 1992, Pochettino played four matches for the Argentina under-23 team at the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament in Paraguay,[46] which saw them fail to qualify for the 1992 Summer Olympics.[47]

Pochettino won 20 caps for the full side over a period of four years.[48] He was handed his first senior international by his former manager Bielsa, playing his first match on 31 March 1999 in a friendly against the Netherlands at Amsterdam Arena, ending in a 1–1 draw.[49] Pochettino scored his first goal on 17 November 1999 in another friendly, a 2–0 win over Spain.[50] He was a participant at the 1999 Copa América and the 2002 FIFA World Cup under Bielsa,[51][52] appearing in three complete matches as the nation were unsuccessful in progressing from the group stage in the latter tournament.[53]

Pochettino's most newsworthy highlight to the competition came during the second group stage match against England, when Italian referee Pierluigi Collina awarded Argentina's opponents a penalty, after the defender brought down Michael Owen in the box. The resulting kick was converted by David Beckham for the match's only goal.[54]

Managerial career[edit]

Espanyol[edit]

Pochettino (left) playing for Espanyol in a veterans' match in 2011

In late January 2009, Pochettino became Espanyol's third coach of the 2008–09 season, with the team third from the bottom of the table.[55] Tasked with saving them from relegation, he had only just received his UEFA Pro License in December 2008 and had spent a short spell as the assistant manager to the ladies' team but was otherwise untested as a coach.[56] His first match was at home to neighbouring FC Barcelona, managed by Pep Guardiola, in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey. Despite his players' reluctance and only being able to avail themselves of two training sessions prior to the game, his system of high pressing and one-on-one defensive cover yielded an unexpected 0–0 draw.[56] After he had asked for "divine intervention",[57] the side's fortunes improved and they eventually finished the season comfortably mid-table with their most significant result being a 2–1 victory in the league derby against Barcelona, their first in the competition at the Camp Nou for 27 years.[58] He coached nine players who were his teammates during his last year active[59][60] and, in early June, renewed his link for a further three years.[61]

Pochettino as manager of Espanyol in 2012

In 2009–10, Pochettino once again led Espanyol to a comfortable league position, in a campaign where club symbol (and his former teammate) Raúl Tamudo fell out of favour, particularly after the January 2010 arrival of the manager's compatriot Dani Osvaldo.[62] On 28 September 2010, he agreed to a one-year extension at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat which ran until 30 June 2012,[63] and in May of the following year further renewed his contract until 2014.[64][65] On 26 November 2012, however, following a 0–2 home loss against Getafe CF that left the team in last place with just nine points from 13 matches and with the manager complaining about the financial restrictions being placed upon him,[66] his contract was terminated by mutual consent at the end of that month.[67]

Despite the lowly league position, Pochettino's work had drawn praise from commentators[68] and he was beginning to display the characteristics that would inform his coaching at his subsequent clubs, namely the imposition of a specific tactical style on all of the clubs' team from the senior side down to youth level, attending training sessions to receive updates from all levels, a preference for 4–2–3–1, a focus on a high-pressing game and the promotion of players from the academy to the first team.[68]

Southampton[edit]

On 18 January 2013, Pochettino was announced as the new first-team manager of Premier League club Southampton,[69] replacing Nigel Adkins[70] and becoming the second Argentine manager in English football after Osvaldo Ardiles.[71] His first match in charge was five days later, a 0–0 draw against Everton at St Mary's Stadium.[72][73] He recorded his first win on 9 February, 3–1 at home over reigning champions Manchester City.[74]

Despite having some knowledge of English, Pochettino initially used a Spanish interpreter in press conferences as a way to fully express himself.[75] He led the Saints to notable victories against other top league sides, including a 3–1 home win over Liverpool[76] and a 2–1 success against Chelsea also at St Mary's.[77]

In his first full season at Southampton, Pochettino led the team to an eighth-placed finish, their highest league position since 2002–03, while also recording their highest points tally since the Premier League began in 1992–93.[citation needed]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

On 27 May 2014, Pochettino was appointed head coach of Tottenham Hotspur on a five-year contract, becoming their tenth manager over a 12-year span.[78] The following 28 January, the team reached the final of the League Cup following a 3–2 aggregate win over Sheffield United, only to be beaten 2–0 by Chelsea in the decisive game at Wembley Stadium.[79] In the domestic league, his first season was generally successful, ending in a fifth-placed finish and the conversion of several young academy players into regular first-team players; he put one of those graduates, Harry Kane, as starting striker at the expense of Spanish international Roberto Soldado, a gamble which paid off[80] as Kane and his teammates Dele Alli and Eric Dier were touted as the potential basis for the England squad at UEFA Euro 2016.[81]

Tottenham were in contention to win the league in 2015–16, but on 2 May 2016 they drew 2–2 against Chelsea, confirming Leicester City as champions. The game at Stamford Bridge saw the former receive a league record nine yellow cards, and Pochettino entered the pitch in the first half to separate his left back Danny Rose from a confrontation with Chelsea winger Willian.[82] Spurs also lost in their last match of the season, ceding the league runners-up spot to rival Arsenal[83] – it was still good enough for their highest league finish since 1990.[84]

On 12 May 2016, Pochettino agreed to an extension to his contract, committing him to the club until 2021[85] as it was also confirmed that his title had changed from that of "head coach" to "manager", although he confirmed that the role itself was no different.[86] The campaign began with a series of 12 unbeaten league matches that ended with a defeat away to Chelsea in late November.[87] However, inconsistencies which saw them being eliminated from UEFA Champions League and League Cup contention[88] meant that they fell some way behind the leaders Chelsea who had a run of 13 wins (ended by a loss to Tottenham in January 2017).[89]

Pochettino's side eventually finished in second place with 86 points, their highest-ever tally since the English League began under the new denomination[90] and their highest ranking in 54 years since 1962–63 under Bill Nicholson,[91] and the first season-long unbeaten home run in 52 years since 1964–65 was also achieved.[92][93]

On 24 May 2018, Pochettino signed a new five-year contract to keep him at Tottenham until 2023.[94] In December 2018, Pochettino won his 100th Premier League match as manager of Tottenham after a late win against Burnley; he became the first Tottenham manager to reach this milestone and the third quickest Premier League manager to achieve the feat with a single club.[95]

On 8 May 2019, Pochettino led Tottenham into the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final, the first Champions League/European Cup final in the club's history after beating Ajax on away goals (3–3 aggregate),[5] with his side coming back from a 2–0 deficit (3–0 aggregate) at half-time in Amsterdam, only for Lucas Moura to score a second-half hat-trick.[96] The final ended in a 2–0 defeat to Liverpool.[97]

On 19 November 2019, Pochettino was dismissed by Tottenham Hotspur with the side placed 14th in the Premier League table, with chairman Daniel Levy citing "extremely disappointing" domestic results as the reason behind the dismissal.[98][99] Pochettino was succeeded by José Mourinho.[100]

Style of coaching[edit]

Where did I get the idea we had to (press)? It's about your personality, who you are. You show on the pitch who you are. If you are brave in your life, you cannot behave in a different way on the pitch. I don't understand how to play in a different way. Always, be brave. I like to be brave.

Pochettino on his coaching philosophy.[56]

Pochettino favours a very high-pressing, attacking style of football. He often employs a 4–2–3–1 formation at the clubs he manages. While doing so, he instructs his team to build from the back, intimidate and unsettle opponents with a quick-press system and work the ball into the box.[101]

Pochettino is hailed by many pundits for his focus on developing local players from the clubs' youth academies, get local government and references' support,[102][103] and a willingness to promote young players in general.[104][105] It was also noted that many young players under his tutelage went on to play for the England national team,[106][107] while the manager himself felt that it was his duty to develop English talent, saying "I feel when I arrived in Spain and now in England in which way can we say 'thank you' to the country that opened the door when I didn't speak English. And how people treated me and my family and my staff which was really well. It's a way to say thank you to the Premier League and the people who trust in you".[108][109]

Players coached by Pochettino also praised his man-management approach and guidance with his willingness to advise, encouraging the players to take charge of their own development as well as helping them to improve physically, technically and mentally.[110]

Personal life[edit]

Pochettino and his wife Karina Grippaldi have two sons, Sebastiano and Maurizio. Sebastiano was Tottenham's first team sports scientist.[111][112] Maurizio was granted a contract with Tottenham's development squad,[113] scoring his first goal for the under-18 side against Norwich City in October 2018.[114] In early December, he made his debut for the under-23s against VfL Wolfsburg.[115]

Pochettino believes in "energía universal" (English: universal energy), the idea that people, places and things are charged with a hidden energy, positive or negative. "I believe in energía universal", he said. "It is connected. Nothing happens for causality (By accident). It is always a consequence [of something else]. Maybe, it is one of the reasons that Harry [Kane] always scores in derbies. I believe in that energy. For me, it exists".[116][117]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Source:[118][119][120]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Newell's Old Boys 1988–89 Primera División 4 0 4 0
1989–90 Primera División 30 0 30 0
1990–91 Primera División 34 4 34 4
1991–92 Primera División 28 3 28 3
1992–93 Primera División 32 1 32 1
1993–94 Primera División 25 0 25 0
Total 153 8 153 8
Espanyol 1994–95 La Liga 34 0 1 0 35 0
1995–96 La Liga 39 3 9 0 48 3
1996–97 La Liga 37 3 6 0 4 0 47 3
1997–98 La Liga 35 2 35 2
1998–99 La Liga 26 0 3 1 29 1
1999–2000 La Liga 29 1 7 0 36 1
2000–01 La Liga 16 2 2 0 6 0 24 2
Total 216 11 28 1 10 0 254 12
Paris Saint-Germain 2000–01 Division 1 7 1 1 0 8 1
2001–02 Division 1 28 1 2 0 2 0 10 0 42 1
2002–03 Ligue 1 35 2 5 1 5 1 45 4
Total 70 4 3 0 7 1 15 1 95 6
Bordeaux 2003–04 Ligue 1 11 1 1 0 4 0 16 1
Espanyol 2003–04 La Liga 21 1 21 1
2004–05 La Liga 27 1 0 0 27 1
2005–06 La Liga 11 0 2 0 3 1 16 1
Total 59 2 2 0 3 1 64 3
Career total 509 26 34 1 7 1 32 2 582 30

International[edit]

Source:[121]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Argentina 1999 6 1
2000 2 0
2001 6 1
2002 6 0
Total 20 2

International goals[edit]

Argentina score listed first, score column indicates score after each Pochettino goal.[121]
International goals by date, venue, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 17 November 1999 Estadio La Cartuja, Seville, Spain 6  Spain 2–0 2–0 Friendly [50]
2 7 October 2001 Estadio Defensores del Chaco, Asunción, Paraguay 12  Paraguay 1–1 2–2 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification [122]

Managerial record[edit]

As of 19 November 2019
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref.
P W D L Win %
Espanyol 20 January 2009 26 November 2012 161 53 38 70 032.9 [55][67][123]
Southampton 18 January 2013 27 May 2014 60 23 18 19 038.3 [124]
Tottenham Hotspur 27 May 2014 19 November 2019 293 159 62 72 054.3 [124]
Total 514 235 118 161 045.7

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Newell's Old Boys

Espanyol

Paris Saint-Germain

Manager[edit]

Tottenham Hotspur

Individual

References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]

  • Balague, Guillem (2017). Brave New World: Inside Pochettino's Spurs. W&N. ISBN 978-1409157717.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]