Tottenham fans may have been delighted by Champions League qualification for their side after a narrow victory over Newcastle United, but manager Mauricio Pochettino’s post-match comments may not have been quite as impressive.
“It’s a fantastic achievement,” the coach told the club’s official website.
“I want to say ‘thank-you’ to the players, first of all, because they have worked so hard to achieve this and big congratulations to our staff and everyone at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
“It has been a difficult season for the fans and they deserve big credit too.
“It was difficult – it always is in the Premier League, there are no easy games as we’ve seen in the last few weeks – and the effort has been fantastic all season.
“It’s never easy when you have the pressure to win and play against a team that is free to run and make mistakes and play so deep, like Newcastle. In the end it’s job done and again, I congratulate the players.
“To be in the Champions League next season is massive for the Club.”
In many respects, Pochettino’s comments are justified. Spurs cannot compete with the likes of the Manchester clubs financially and given their wages and spending it would be an impressive achievement to finish above the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.
But as is becoming more and more concerning for Lilywhites fans, it does not reflect a desire to win silverware that fans so desperately crave. Year after year Tottenham fail to capitalise on their potential and after pushing both Leicester and Chelsea close for the title in recent years, this season they seem content with securing a Champions League spot.
With a young squad who are now coming into their prime, Mauricio Pochettino and co. should be aiming much higher than simply qualifying for the Champions League. A comparison with the likes of Liverpool, whose squad is much less rounded than Tottenham’s and has some significant weaknesses, reflects just where Tottenham could go in different circumstances.
Few doubt that Pochettino is the ideal man for the job, but given that he is yet to lift a trophy in his career and his comments are showing that he is happy with just qualifying for European football, there may be some concerned about the club’s ambition.
It may concern Spurs fans, but there is a risk of Tottenham becoming the new Arsenal in only aiming for a fourth placed finish and celebrating it. With such quality at Pochettino’s disposal, even on a small budget, that should be the bare minimum, rather than the expectation.