Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino’s philosophy

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino talks to UEFA.com about building a philosophy, playing high-octane football and admiring Diego Simeone:

On forming a philosophy …

When a player’s in the middle of his career he’s not thinking about philosophies – nor when a child plays football. You just like shooting, passing the ball, scoring, saving and so on.

But suddenly a time comes when you feel something has changed. At least, my mind changed. I don’t know if that’s the same for everyone, but when I was 27 or 28 I started to see things differently; I started to get interested in what the life of a coach was like, the team management skills and so on.

Everything about the life of a coach interested me, and that affected my career as a player because that’s the moment when you’re not so open-minded and pure any more. That’s the sign of your career starting to go downwards.

On making it unique …

I’ve spent many hours with experienced coaches and I’ve learnt something from them all, but I honestly haven’t looked for a model to copy during my career as a coach. I’ve had the fortune to be able to enjoy the company of many experienced people in this area, and to share ideas with people who love this sport and are very passionate about it.

In the end, you build something yourself. I don’t think copying or looking for a model was ever my approach – instead I tried to build something new, something I liked and felt was mine, little by little. You have to build your own ideas, values and philosophy.

On the importance of pressing …

I don’t think if you play an attacking football style that makes you brave, and if you play a counterattacking and more organised style you’re less brave. You have to respect all ideas, all of them are valid.

You have to express and develop your plan based on who you are in order to manage your team. But when you press a lot, people say that’s a brave team. I think that’s questionable.

On staying consistent …

Pochettino is coaching in the Champions League for the first time©Getty Images
Pochettino is coaching in the Champions League for the first time©Getty Images

Every coach and his staff have their own style, and the most important thing is to be consistent in what you do. It’s no use playing a certain way if you don’t believe in it, if it doesn’t make you smile and satisfied about playing football.

Things can always change, but the most important thing is to never lose your way. Football is something that generates happiness and enjoyment, emotions – we’re generating emotions every minute.

Playing out from the back, not launching the ball into the box from defence, pressing a lot, dominating the pitch as we’ve planned during the week: those are the emotions we like to feel, and those are the emotions I would like to share with my players.

On fostering team spirit …

I think that togetherness has to come about spontaneously. It’s not something you can dictate: you can’t just say: “Lads, we’ve all got to stick together, love each other, have discipline and respect each other.”

It’s important to set an example, though, which is what we tried to do when we came here. For instance, there’s one detail I can tell you about, which is that we always greet people when we walk in somewhere and shake their hands.

It’s not like writing commandments and forcing people to obey them, it’s more about sowing the seeds in everything you do, and then hoping they grow spontaneously.

On the role of the fans …

What Diego Simeone is doing and achieving with Atlético Madrid is a fantastic example. I think the fans are an essential factor in all this, they should always give the team that something extra at key moments which enables the team to find the energy they need when the going gets tough.

Here at White Hart Lane, I believe that over the last couple of years the fans and club members have understood what we’re trying to do, our philosophy and the changes we’ve made. I think they, more than anyone, recognise the hard work that is being put in.

On his support staff …

Pochettino knows the importance of his backroom team©Getty Images
Pochettino knows the importance of his backroom team©Getty Images

I think the coaches are the visible face of a much bigger project which involves a lot of people. If you don’t have wonderful people around you, who share the same approach as you and put in the same effort, it’s very unlikely a coach will succeed in such a difficult job.

I think that’s a fundamental part of the job, the people who work alongside you, people who are both reliable and competent and who contribute to making all this possible.

Source : Uefa.com

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