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Does Mauricio Pochettino need a trophy to be classed as a success at Tottenham?

The Lilywhites have undergone yet another trophyless campaign.

Martyn Cooke

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Mauricio Pochettino
Photo: Getty Images

So Tottenham Hotspurs’ FA Cup curse continues.

Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera consigned Mauricio Pochettino’s side to a narrow defeat against Manchester United on Saturday and means that Spurs have lost all of their last eight FA Cup semi-finals. It is a bizarre statistic that underlines the club’s struggle to secure regular silverware in the modern era.

Furthermore, defeat at Wembley consigns Tottenham to another season without a trophy. It is now a decade since the club last won a major honour, the 2007/08 League Cup under the stewardship of Juande Ramos, and over half a century since they last secured a top-flight championship.

However, more importantly, the lack of success is now threatening to undermine Pochettino’s reign.

There is little doubt that the Argentinian has overseen a significant improvement in the club’s standing since being appointed as manager in summer of 2014.

He has built a young, dynamic squad that produces fast, pacey, attacking football which, at times, is exhilarating watch whilst also cementing Tottenham’s place as one of the four leading team’s in England.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

One of Pochettino’s strengths is his ability to find solutions and bounce back from setbacks.

A couple of years ago, it was widely claimed that Tottenham could not finish above Arsenal, yet this will be the second successive season that they have finished above their North London rivals.

Furthermore, it was only twelve months ago that Pochettino was criticised for overseeing Spurs’ poor Champions League campaign, yet this year the team have proven the doubters wrong by beating Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund whilst progressing to the knock out stages of the competition.

However, the Argentinian now needs to find a solution to Tottenham’s inability to secure silverware.

There is a danger that all of the good work that Pochettino has done will be slowly eroded away with each season that the club fails to secure a major honour. He needs a trophy not only to validate his own achievements at the club but also to keep the current squad of players together.

The warning signs were there for all to see in the summer.

The departure of Kyle Walker could be an early precursor to the dismantling of the current Tottenham side. The defender opted to join Manchester City in search of silverware and it will not have gone unnoticed in the Spurs’ dressing room that he has won both the Premier League and League Cup in his debut season at the Etihad.

Big-name players want to be challenging for major honours and when their career culminates they want to have a trophy cabinet full of winners’ medals rather than a loose claim of finishing in the top-four on a regular basis.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Walker’s success may already be raising questions in the back of the minds of some of Tottenham’s star names. At 24 years of age Harry Kane has already scored over 100 goals for Spurs and has emerged as one of the best strikers in European football, yet he has no trophies or winner medals to show for it.

However, Kane does have a natural connection and affinity with the club and he is unlikely to leave any time soon, but others, such as Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen, may not be so patient. If one of European football’s ‘big-hitters’ come knocking then it will be incredibly difficult for Tottenham to keep hold of their star names.

What is certain is that Pochettino needs to find a way of securing silverware, otherwise he may run the risk of the squad, that he has done incredibly well to build, begin to crumble as players go in search of trophies.

It could be argued that winning silverware is not the be all and end all for Tottenham – you would struggle to find any supporters who would believe that Ramos’ spell at the club was more successful than Pochettino’s reign, simply because he was able to win the League Cup.

However, Spurs can produce all of the exhilarating football that they want, but it loses its impact when it fails to culminate in a trophy.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

Tottenham Hotspur

How can Victor Wanyama revive his Tottenham career after ruling out exit?

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Photo: Getty Images.

2017/18 was a fairly impressive campaign for Tottenham on and off the field as the side adjusted well to playing at Wembley and secured a third placed finish, but one man who ended the season disappointed was midfielder Victor Wanyama.

The Kenya international played only 24 games, only 12 of those starts, and saw himself relegated to the fringes of the team for much of the campaign, sparking speculation that his future at White Hart Lane may be at threat.

“I don’t respond to rumours and all those are rumours to me, I still have a contract with Spurs and that is what I want to see through,” he told Goal.

“I did not have a good season with the team because of injury and my aim now is to work hard during this break and return for next season even stronger and help them perform even better.

“I am happy at Tottenham and I am committed to the team. I am not aware of anything and I am very fine and happy where I am.”

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The holding midfielder will now focus on rebuilding his fitness and getting back into the team, showing the kind of brilliance that was clear for all to see in fits and bursts such as with his goal of the season finish at Anfield.

There is clearly a role for the 26-year-old to play in Tottenham’s squad and if Moussa Dembele’s future is uncertain, he could be one of those set to benefit the most and will have an automatic spot in the team when fully fit.

Having forced Mauricio Pochettino to reconsider his deployment of Eric Dier, moving the England man into defence or in a two man holding role to fit Wanyama in, it’s clear that the coach is a fan of his former Southampton player.

Building fitness and consistency will be crucial for Wanyama and doing so in time for pre-season could be pivotal. If he can do that and get a strong warm-up and preparation under his belt ready for when his team-mates return from World Cup duty, he can start the season in the team and make a statement of intent early on.

Few doubt Wanyama’s quality and no-one will want to see him depart, even if the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea come calling as Goal suggest, but he will have to repay Tottenham for keeping the faith in him throughout a season of frustration for him and show what he can do on a regular basis.

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Ahmed Hegazi would be inadequate Toby Aderweireld replacement

Latest reports are linking the Egyptian with a move to White Hart Lane.

Max Cohen

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Ahmed Hegazi
Photo: Getty Images

As Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Aderweireld becomes more heavily linked with a move away from north London this summer, the club is on the search for a new central defender to fill his boots.

According to The Guardian, one mooted replacement is West Bromwich Albion centre-back Ahmed Hegazi; but Spurs should surely aim higher than a player who was part of a relegated side that sported one of the worst defences in the league.

Hegazi joined the Baggies from Egyptian football at the start of the 2017/18 campaign and became an ever-present at the Hawthorns in his debut season.

The Egyptian international caught the eye with a number of impressive performances at the back, yet was helpless as West Brom finished second-bottom and and suffered relegation to the Championship.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The departure of the Belgian needs to be met with a signing of the highest quality in order for Tottenham to show they can seriously challenge for silverware next season; Ahmed Hegazi simply is an inadequate man for the job.

Being part of a backline that shipped 56 goals in 38 matches, 20 more than Spurs conceded all year and the eighth-worst in the Premier League, is the opposite of an impressive credential.

And with Spurs already singing central defenders Davinson Sanchez and Cameron Carter-Vickers to long-term deals this summer, the acquisition of the 27-year-old Egyptian seemingly makes little sense.

The pursuit of the relegated West Brom defender should surely be called off in favour of higher-profile defensive talents such as Ajax’s Matias de Ligt or other players from Europe’s elite.

The inadequate signing of Ahmed Hegazi from West Brom would do little to help Tottenham Hotspur launch a sustained title challenge in the 2018/19 campaign.

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Mauricio Pochettino’s new contract release clause should concern Tottenham fans

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Photo: Getty Images.

There was the news that all Tottenham fans had been waiting and hoping for on Thursday as it was announced that Mauricio Pochettino had put pen to paper on an extended contract at the club.

The deal will run until 2023, as announced on the club’s official website, and reflects the long-term commitment from both parties after an impressive first four seasons in north London from the Argentinian.

However, fans will come back down to earth with a bump when they read MARCA‘s reports which claim that the contract includes an escape clause which would allow Pochettino to depart the club if Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain come calling.

The report goes on to state that the former Espanyol and Southampton boss is desperate to one day manage the Champions League finalists, whilst his history as a player at PSG would certainly make a move there appealing.

(during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid at Wembley Stadium on November 1, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.

It would be no surprise if either of those huge clubs were to be interested in appointing Pochettino given that he has turned Tottenham into title contenders by spending little and developing young players into world beaters.

A new stadium gives new ambition and hope which could take Spurs to the next level, and whilst that may help to persuade the coach to stay, it could equally catch the eye of those abroad if it provides a platform to finally lift silverware for the first time in his career.

By committing to what could be a nine year stay if he sees out his new deal, Pochettino clearly has no plans to go anywhere just yet.

But with Daniel Levy ready to invest and back his man, it will be a nagging worry knowing that he could depart at any moment if Zinedine Zidane or Thomas Tuchel depart their clubs and Pochettino becomes a target.

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