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Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero (Spanish pronunciation: [mauˈɾisjo potʃeˈtino], Italian: [poketˈtino]; born 2 March 1972) is an Argentine football manager and former player. He is the manager of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino 2016.jpg
Pochettino as manager of Tottenham Hotspur in 2016
Personal information
Full name Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero[1][2]
Date of birth (1972-03-02) 2 March 1972 (age 47)[3]
Place of birth Murphy, Argentina
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)[3]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Tottenham Hotspur (manager)
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
1999–2002 Argentina 20 (2)
Teams managed
2009–2012 Espanyol
2013–2014 Southampton
2014– Tottenham Hotspur
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

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.[4] 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 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 nearly four years. He then managed in the Premier League, first with Southampton where he led them to an eighth-placed finish in the 2013-2014 season, their highest league position since 2002–03, while also recording their highest points tally since the Premier League began in 1992–93.[5] After one season at Southampton, he managed Tottenham, whom he led to top-three finishes in three of his first four seasons.[6] In the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League, Pochettino led Tottenham to the final for the first time in the club's history.[7]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Pochettino was born in Murphy, Santa Fe to Amalia and Héctor Pochettino, a farm labourer.[8] His family is of Italian descent from the Piedmont region.[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 in the centre-back position, but can also played as a striker or midfielder. By the time he was 14, he was playing in the first division of the regional Venadense league together with his older brother Javier.[8]

Club careerEdit

Newell's Old BoysEdit

In 1987, when he was 14, Pochettino was scouted by José Griffa and his future manager Marcelo Bielsa.[11] He moved to Newell's Old Boys in Rosario, Santa Fe, making his debut in the Primera División in 1988.

During his five-year tenure, Pochettino won the 1990–91 national championship as well as the 1992 Clausura.[12] Bielsa eventually became Newell's manager during this time, and his coaching methods and philosophy would have a significant impact on the young player.[13] The side reached the final of the Copa Libertadores, where he scored a crucial goal away to Colombian champions América de Cali in the semi-final.[14]

EspanyolEdit

Aged 22, Pochettino then moved to RCD Espanyol in Spain for the 1994–95 season, as part of the intake of players accompanying the Catalans upon their return to La Liga.[15] He soon established himself as an automatic first-team starter during his six-and-a-half years at the club, helping them to the 2000 conquest of the Copa del Rey.[16] By then, he had developed a reputation as a tough, uncompromising central defender.[17]

Paris Saint-GermainEdit

In late January 2001, Pochettino signed for Paris Saint-Germain FC.[18] He was also a regular starter during his stay, and moved to fellow Ligue 1 side FC Girondins de Bordeaux for the 2003–04 campaign; he returned to Espanyol, however, initially on loan before the move was made permanent.[19] The return occurred midway through his first year,[20] where he continued to play for two-and-a-half more seasons before wrapping up his career at age 34 with another domestic cup victory.[21]

International careerEdit

In 1992, Pochettino played for the Argentina under-23 team at the CONMEBOL Men Pre-Olympic Tournament in Paraguay, which saw them fail to qualify for the 1992 Summer Olympics.[22] He won 20 caps for the full side over a period of four years and was a participant at the 2002 FIFA World Cup,[23] appearing in three complete matches as the nation exited in the group stage.

Pochettino's most newsworthy contribution to the tournament came during the second group stage game, 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.[24]

Coaching careerEdit

EspanyolEdit

 
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.[25] Tasked with saving them from relegation, he had just recently completed his UEFA Pro License and had spent a short spell as the assistant manager to the ladies' team but was otherwise untested as a coach.[26] His first match was at home to neighbouring FC Barcelona, managed by Pep Guardiola, in the Spanish Cup. 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.[26] After he had asked for "divine intervention",[27] 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.[28] He coached nine players who were his teammates during his last year active[29][30] and, in early June, renewed his link for a further three years.[31]

 
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.[32] On 28 September 2010, he agreed to a one-year extension at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat which ran until 30 June 2012,[33] and in May of the following year further renewed his contract until 2014.[34] 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,[35] his contract was terminated by mutual consent at the end of that month.[36]

Despite the lowly league position, Pochettino's work had drawn praise from commentators[37] 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.[37]

SouthamptonEdit

On 18 January 2013, Pochettino was announced as the new first-team manager of Premier League club Southampton,[38] replacing Nigel Adkins[39] and becoming the second Argentine manager in English football after Osvaldo Ardiles.[40] His first match in charge was five days later, a 0–0 draw against Everton at St Mary's Stadium.[41]

[42] He recorded his first win on 9 February, 3–1 at home over reigning champions Manchester City.[43]

Despite having some knowledge of English, Pochettino initially used a Spanish interpreter in press conferences as a way to fully express himself.[44] He led the Saints to notable victories against other top league sides, including a 3–1 home win over Liverpool[45] and a 2–1 success against Chelsea also at St Mary's.[46]

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.[5][unreliable source?]

Tottenham HotspurEdit

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.[47] 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.[48] 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[49] as Kane and his teammates Dele Alli and Eric Dier were touted as the potential basis for the England squad at UEFA Euro 2016.[50][unreliable source?]

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.[51] Spurs also lost in their last match of the season, ceding the league runners-up spot to rival Arsenal[52] – it was still good enough for their highest league finish since 1990.[53]

On 12 May 2016, Pochettino agreed to an extension to his contract, committing him to the club until 2021[54] 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.[55] The campaign began with a series of 12 unbeaten league matches that ended with a defeat away to Chelsea in late November.[56] However, inconsistencies which saw them being eliminated from UEFA Champions League and League Cup contention[57] 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).[58]

Pochettino's side eventually finished in second place with 86 points, their highest-ever tally since the English League began under the new denomination[59] and their highest ranking in 54 years since 1962–63 under Bill Nicholson,[60] and the first season-long unbeaten home run in 52 years since 1964–65 was also achieved.[61][62]

On 24 May 2018, Pochettino signed a new five-year contract to keep him at Tottenham until 2023.[63]

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 agg),[7] with his side coming back from a 2–0 deficit (3–0 agg) at half-time in Amsterdam, only for Lucas Moura to score a second-half hat trick.

Managerial styleEdit

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.[26]

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.[64]

Pochettino is hailed by many pundits for his focus on developing local players from the clubs' youth academies, get local government and references' support,[65][66] and a willingness to promote young players in general.[67][68] It was also noted that many young players under his tutelage went on to play for the English national team,[69][70] 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".[71][72]

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.[73]

Personal lifeEdit

Pochettino's son, Maurizio, was granted a contract with Tottenham's development squad,[74] and scored his first goal for the under-18 side against Norwich City in October 2018.[75] In early December, he made his debut for the under-23s against Wolfsburg.[76]

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".[77][78]

Playing statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

Source:[79][80][81]
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

InternationalEdit

Source:[82]
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 goalsEdit

Argentina score listed first, score column indicates score after each Pochettino goal.[82]
International goals by date, venue, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 17 November 1999 La Cartuja, Seville, Spain   Spain 2–0 2–0 Friendly [83]
2 7 October 2001 Defensores del Chaco, Asunción, Paraguay   Paraguay 1–1 2–2 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification [84]

Managerial statisticsEdit

As of match played 12 May 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 [25][36][85]
Southampton 18 January 2013 27 May 2014 60 23 18 19 038.3 [86]
Tottenham Hotspur 27 May 2014 Present 275 154 55 66 056.0 [86]
Total 496 230 111 155 046.4

HonoursEdit

PlayerEdit

Newell's Old Boys

Espanyol

ManagerEdit

Tottenham Hotspur

Individual

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit