Parker: They always say never go back, but if Pochettino’s got an itch, he needs to scratch it...
Paul Paker believes that Mauricio Pochettino should go back to Tottenham, if he feels he has unfinished business in north London...
Mauricio Pochettino (C), Manager of Tottenham Hotspur and Diego Simeone (R), Manager of Atletico de Madrid look on during the 2016 International Champions Cup Australia match between Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico de Madrid
They always say never go back, but if Mauricio Pochettino’s got an itch, then he needs to scratch it...
Pochettino always comes across as a really nice, sincere man. Does he have ill feelings about the way he left the club? Yes, he’s human. But does he still respect that club and a lot of people within that club? Yes – and he’s still respected by a lot of Spurs’ own fans, because of what he’s achieved at the club.
People will say, “He didn’t win any trophies,” but what he was up against in that time, playing away from home for two seasons, and then taking the club into a Champions League final - It’s not always trophies that deem you’re a good manager. He managed the situation very well, because of what they got out of it. Spurs have gone into a shiny new stadium off the back of what he’s achieved and were in good health when they went into that stadium.
Something rocked the boat, but it didn’t suddenly make him a bad manager, and you can tell by the players he’s worked with – some of them he’s turned into international players. Managers should be judged on what they’ve achieved with individual players as well as winning trophies. People can hide behind winning trophies.
Pochettino’s statement really feels like it’s coming from the heart, and as if he means it. He’s well liked there and I think the club made a massive error there, somewhere along the line. Clubs have to stop looking at Twitter and go with what they believe.
Football now is run by players and agents, and they need to start backing the manager. They need to get the owner or chairman in a dressing room and let them know: “This man isn’t leaving this club – if there’s a problem in the dressing room, it’s someone from the dressing room who needs to leave, not the manager.”
I think Pochettino feels that there’s still something there, and you have to believe that. When you look at the Champions League final, a poor refereeing decision really cost Tottenham. The teams were out of sync because they’d had too long off before the final, so it wasn’t a great final, but there was still an opportunity for them.
Spurs should have been able to bounce back from the Champions League final, but they didn’t and everyone wants to know why – what happened? I’m sure he knows and maybe there was something he feels he didn’t do right and he wants to rectify that, because he enjoyed himself at a great football club.
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Money won't give Poch success at Newcastle
Pochettino has been linked to the top job at Newcastle, but I think that would be like walking into a minefield, because as soon as you walk in, they’ll be wanting you to go and win something. They’ll be throwing Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan at you, and it’s a difficult job with that expectation.
Money doesn’t guarantee you anything at Newcastle, because you still have to entice players to come and live somewhere quite remote, and that’s the hardest bit. Foreign owners want big name players, and they need a big name to attract them.
It would be a very difficult job for someone new to walk into, and Pochettino would be better off leaving it and seeing how it goes under new ownership with the present manager. Steve Bruce will know that foreign investors won’t be patient, and that his time is limited. Although we know differently, and Steve Bruce is a massive name in English football, foreign owners might not consider him high profile enough to go out and bring in the big name players through a high profile agent.
Wherever he goes next, I hope Pochettino can go somewhere to prove himself for what he is which is a very good manager. He ran Spurs on a shoestring with Daniel Levy, and he’s willing to balance books. He didn’t sulk, he didn’t shout and scream about not getting the money or not being able to get a certain player, he just got on with it and there was cohesion within that team.
That changed the moment they got in that stadium and there’s a link there somewhere. Something broke, and as we know from football, a small little crack can turn into the Grand Canyon.