Mauricio Pochettino highlighted the difference in expectations at Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain, insisting he doesn’t have time to build a project with the Ligue 1 giants.
Pochettino had a slow start to life at Spurs after joining the club in the summer of 2014.
However, the squad have grown stronger over their five and a half years at the club, competing for the Premier League title twice and finishing second in the Champions League in 2019.
While the 49-year-old was unable to help Spurs cross the finish line and win the silverware, the team have improved significantly under his leadership.
Pochettino also allowed Tottenham to play a kind of attacking and energetic football that was the envy of much of the Premier League.
However, the former Spurs boss has been criticized for not having implemented a similar style in Paris. He has now responded to his criticism, explaining that PSG’s demands are to win every trophy.
He told the print edition of The team (as relayed by Sports witness): “When PSG comes to get you, it’s so that you adapt to an existing structure, to the players recruited, to get what the club wants.
“What does PSG want? PSG want to win. Win the Champions League, the Championship, the Cup, every game.
“We didn’t come here looking to build a project, to ask ourselves what we needed to develop our ideas, or what we like. We came here to adapt and to win, with the structure and the characteristics of the players who are here. It is very different.
“In fact, to that, we must add the time to put them in place. Take Liverpool. It’s a club that recruited a coach (Jürgen Klopp, in 2015), gave him the tools he wanted and gave him time.
“With Tottenham, we have always been in the fight, until the Champions League final (2-0 defeat against Liverpool in 2019), where you need a victory. These are projects where there is time.
“At PSG, the project is to win and win now. Staff adaptation is fundamental to finding the momentum that will bring you results. Without results, you can’t hope to achieve the football we all want in the end: we all want to play a good game, win 5-0, etc.
Pochettino also spoke about how Tottenham’s style of play continued to evolve during his time in North London.
Asked about the allegations that his PSG side have no style of play, he replied: “I say this with a lot of respect, but this question reflects a certain lack of respect. It’s like telling yourself that you don’t have style in your writing. Of course you have one, you are a professional and that is why you are sitting there.
“Every coach, at the highest level as an amateur, has a style. When you work to become a coach, you develop your style: your tastes, your management, your methods with your collaborators.
“We are a staff who has a defined style, a philosophy, ideas. Then the question is how and when to implement what is really right for you. And it depends on the demands of the club, as we said earlier.
“If you look at what we’ve done at Espanyol or Southampton or Tottenham you’ll see the style of play we like. If you watch a game from our first and third seasons at Tottenham, it’s not the same. Because there was a strategy to get there.
Spurs web opinion
I think the criticisms that PSG receive for their style of play are unfair. Pochettino was never going to be able to impose the high pressing style he is known for as Lionel Messi, Neymar (and even Mbappe to some extent) is not going to disturb the opposition of the ball.
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