Sometimes there’s only so much climbing you can do. Only so much plaudits you can gain. Only so much of an impression you can make. Just ask Robb Stark, his continued substance wasn’t quite substantial enough, his power not quite large enough, his charges not quite making it to the top, and eventually the Young Wolf was done away with.
So, Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine who has done a monumental job at Tottenham, a job you could say that despite the recognition it gets, it doesn’t get enough credit. Three successive top-three finishes, with a net spend of less than 30million pounds in that period, and only four signings that cost 20million or higher, while playing some exciting and formidable football, some achievement that is. But is there a chance that the former Espanyol and Southampton manager is starting to feel he’s taken Spurs as far as he can?
For all the credit and limelight the Lilywhites have received over the years, this has been their best ever start to the season, yet it hardly feels like it. There’s hardly in, around or about the club. Spurs have won seven of their 10 league games this season, but the performances, particularly of late, have been far from convincing, while in the Champions League their race is all but run, after collecting one point from three games.
But the most nagging factor is probably the issue concerning the new stadium. Spurs’ new White Hart Lane was supposed to see its first game in mid-September, against Liverpool, but problems pushed it further, leading to the North Londoners to continue using Wembley, while the MK stadium was deployed for the League Cup third round win over Watford.
Pochettino spoke, before Spurs’ defeat to Manchester City, of his displeasure of the stadium situation, upset that the issue still hasn’t been resolved.
But that wasn’t the only thing the manager talked about, or rather talked about being unhappy about, the 46-year-old also spoke this period being his worst feeling at the club. ‘The season so far?’ the manager said.
‘It’s strange because my feeling is the worst feeling I’ve had in the five years that I’ve been here. It’s the worst. But it’s the best start ever for the club in the Premier League. It’s strange, no?’ Pochettino also spoke on how the club isn’t seemingly focused on winning titles, something many cynics use as a stick with which to beat the club and manager, as well as his frustration on the resources at Spurs being far less in comparison to the their other rivals.
For starters it’s easy to paint these words as a plea towards Real Madrid, who seem to have been interested for a while, and have recently sacked their manager, but Pochettino laughing off those claims, as well as the fact that he signed a five-year contract in May, means the Los Blancos talk will continue to be speculation for now.
However, is the start of a realisation of Pochettino’s, that he may well not be able to take Spurs any further? Is there exhaustion creeping in about how Spurs have been ‘almost there but not quite’ for three seasons?
Pochettino has dismissed claims about Real, and looks set to stay at Spurs for the foreseeable future, but with bigger options, and bigger resources potentially lying elsewhere, is he thinking his race in North London is about to be run?