Mauricio Pochettino has been the darling of the British media since he joined Spurs in 2014 but are his recent comments pushing it?
At Southampton, Pochettino was respected but not necessarily liked. The British press and fans didn’t seem to like that he hadn’t learned English. However, when he moved to north London and proved that he had learned to communicate with the natives, they fell in love.
Unlike in 1996, when Arsene Wenger came to Arsenal, the British press are now used to foreign managers and seem to view Poch as down to earth – one of the lads – compared to Wenger, who they still think is stuffy, stuck up and condescending. Possibly because of his age; probably because he’s much, much cleverer than them.
The Frenchman was branded a paedophile, which the press did nothing to prevent, and Poch is Mr. Nice Guy.
On Saturday, the Evening Standard‘s Jack Rosser spoke about how it doesn’t matter that the ex-Saints boss hasn’t actually won anything yet because he’s building such an excellent squad.
Remember when Wenger didn’t win a trophy for almost a decade?
David Hytner from the Guardian has a similar viewpoint. The writer even compliments Poch’s ‘alchemy’ in the wake of Spurs’ newfound success. And by newfound success I mean finishing above Arsenal once.
“It has been a wonder that Tottenham have been able to lever themselves above them on the pitch – they finished clear of Arsenal in the league last season for the first time since 1995 – and compete with the rest of the so-called big six,” Hytner writes.
“It has been down, in large part, to the alchemy of Mauricio Pochettino who, since his arrival as manager in the summer of 2014, has spent a net £40.25m on permanent transfer deals. To reinforce the point, that it is £40.25m over eight windows. By way of comparison, Arsenal – under Arsène Wenger – have shown a net spend of £163m in the same period. Pochettino has still pieced together the most exciting Spurs team in years.”
This week, however, Poch put a foot wrong. He implied that diving is fine because it’s just part of the game. He believes it’s just another way to out-fox the opposition, completely ignoring the fact that it’s not the opposition you’re fooling with a dive, it’s the referee, which makes it cheating.
The English press have consistently lambasted diving, especially when it’s done by foreign players, which has left some a tad confused over how they’re supposed to feel about their crush now.
The 45-year-old made matters worse by criticising Rochdale, a British club, on their pitch ahead of Spurs’ FA Cup clash.
Needless to say, the Daily Mail aren’t happy. If a foreign manager ever wants to annoy the Mail, all they have to do is slag off a British club.
“The Tottenham manager suggested Rochdale’s pitch may be dangerous and has hinted their FA Cup tie should be moved,” say the Mail. “Yet Pochettino has not visited Scotland and there were no injuries sustained by either side as Rochdale beat Millwall in round four this week.
“If the pitch is deemed unsafe by the FA, then there is a very real issue. But if it merely stands as an inconvenience to Pochettino and his stars, then we now have another reason to look forward to an old-school Cup tie.”
Have the English press finally have enough of Poch? Or will they continue their love-in after his recent comments? I feel like he’s skating on thin ice.