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Mauricio Pochettino

Latest Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Previous Squads:


2016/2017 English Premier League

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Previous Clubs: Espanyol, Southampton

Honours: None

Mauricio Pochettino arrived in the Premier League in surprising circumstances in January 2013, replacing the sacked Nigel Adkins at Southampton; just 18 months later he was stepping up to a lucrative job with Champions League-chasing Tottenham.

Adkins had led Southampton from League One to the Premier League in successive seasons but was relieved of his duties despite his team sitting three points above the relegation zone.

Pochettino, a former Argentina international centre-back who won 20 caps and scored two goals, played at the 2002 World Cup and the 1999 Copa America. He spent most of his career with Newell's Old Boys and Espanyol but also had three years in France with Paris Saint-Germain and Bordeaux.

As a player, he won the Argentine Primera Division title in 1990-91 and the Clausura in 1992. Newell's Old Boys were runners-up in the Copa Libertadores in 2003, losing on penalties to Brazilian side Sao Paulo. He twice won the Copa del Rey with Espanyol, in 2000 and 2006.

He spent spells under Marcelo Bielsa at Newell's and Jose Antonio Camacho at Espanyol.

Pochettino began his coaching career at Espanyol, where he made a record 480 appearances and finished his playing days, at the age of 36 in January 2009, soon carving out a reputation as one of the most promising young managers in the Spanish game. He had been coaching the Espanyol ladies team prior to that.

He built a young, exciting team on limited resources, and was even spoken of as a potential successor to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. Pochettino took a hands-on role with the club's transfer policy and direction, more akin to the style of management in England than Spain.

He took charge of Espanyol with the club in the relegation zone but, in the space of four months, secured a top-half finish. Espanyol enjoyed three further seasons in mid-table, finishing eighth in 2010-11, but finances dictated that their best players had to be sold, and that eventually caught up with the Pericos.

After finishing 14th in 2011-12, five points above the relegation zone, they endured a terrible start to the 2012-13 season and, with his team rooted to the foot of La Liga table, Pochettino was sacked in November. The end of his reign was complicated by boardroom issues, with presidential elections due and a war of words in the media between past regimes and new candidates.

Espanyol were approximately 150 million euros in debt and majority shareholder Daniel Sanchez Llibre was reportedly considering selling his shares. Pochettino was dismissed days after Joan Collet was elected as the new club president.

But the Argentine, who almost took the Sampdoria job in summer 2012, did not have to wait long to get the second coaching job of his career, replacing Adkins two months later and charged with repeating the feat of his first season at Espanyol -- securing top-flight football. He managed that with aplomb, winning over the initially sceptical Saints fans and leading the club to a 14th-place finish.

Things got even better in 2013-14 as Southampton launched a surprised push for Champions League qualification in the first half of the season. Placing an emphasis on youth, with players such as Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and James Ward-Prowse regularly given the opportunity to shine, Pochettino oversaw a remarkable campaign. Adam Lallana's performances at the heart of midfielder won him a PFA Player of the Year nomination, while Rickie Lambert was poached by Liverpool at the end of a successful season, which eventually saw Saints finish in eighth place.

Pochettino unsurprisingly saw himself linked with a number of more glamorous positions and when Spurs came knocking following their sacking of Tim Sherwood, the Argentine coach jumped at the opportunity to move to North London.

His first season in charge of Spurs was a transitional one, finishing the 2014-15 season in fifth place, qualifying for the Europa League. His first season also saw the rise of English talent such as Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Eric Dier. 

The following season was hugely successful for Tottenham, bringing in new players such as Toby Alderwiereld and Son Heung-Min, while Dele Alli finally arrived from Milton Keynes Dons after initially being loaned back and he turned out to be one of the revelations of the Premier League season.

Pochettino's success at Tottenham saw him linked with jobs to Manchester United and Chelsea.

Strengths: His tactical acumen and success working on a small budget brought results at Espanyol and Southampton, as did his ability to bring players through from the youth ranks.

Weaknesses: He has at times previously had fractious relationships with his players, with some of those sold during Espanyol's demise having falling out with him.

Career high: Taking Southampton to their highest ever Premier League finish in his first full season in English football.

Career low: Being sacked the club at which he had played for the majority of his career.

Tactics: He usually favours a positive, attacking style of play using a 4-2-3-1 formation. He deploys a back four with two holding midfielders, wingers to support a lone front man and an attacking midfielder in support through the middle.

Quotes: "He has a proven ability to develop each player as an individual, whilst building great team spirit and a winning mentality." Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, May 2014.

Trivia: Pochettino was born in the same town as Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.

Words: Dale Johnson