Last season may have ended in bitter disappointment for Tottenham Hotspur, but it has created an enormous sense of optimism around White Hart Lane for the coming Premier League campaign – which kicks off for the Lilywhites with a 3pm visit to Everton on Saturday.
Indeed, Mauricio Pochettino has overhauled a squad of overpriced under performers to create a young, vibrant and extremely talented side that has more than enough potential to capitalise on the seemingly inevitable chaos in the Premier League this season as Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all embark upon new eras.
And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, we’ve teamed up with 7 Of The Best to bring you a footballing treat for the coming campaign. It’s free to play and the best team each week wins £1,500, as well as monthly prize of £4,000 for the best individual. Want to win bigger? Nab yourself a whopping £500k if you get all seven of your selections correct for seven consecutive weeks.
How do you play? All you need to do is pick seven teams each week, one being your banker, five being teams you expect to win and one you believe will draw.
So with the theme of seven in mind, not to mention Pochettino’s fantastic turnaround of the north London club, here’s a list of the SEVEN best things to happen at Tottenham Hotspur since they appointed the Argentine gaffer in summer 2014…
It probably took longer than it should have, but Mauricio Pochettino eventually managed to boot Emmanuel Adebayor out of the White Hart Lane exit door.
The Togo international was an immense drain on the club’s wage bill, not to mention squad morale – it’s no coincidence that Spurs have improved exponentially since he left the club last summer.
And that’s not the only time-waster the Argentine has mercilessly culled; Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Younes Kaboul, Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby were all axed by Poch and the Lilywhites are much better off for it.
It may have ended in disappointment at the hands of Chelsea, but reaching the 2015 League Cup final during his first season at White Hart Lane was a fantastic achievement considering the mess Mauricio Pochettino inherited from Tim Sherwood.
That was Spurs’ first cup final in six seasons and only their seventh domestically since 1982. Unfortunately, a first trophy since 2008 continues to elude the north London club.
The soon-to-depart Paul Mitchell has to take credit for all matters transfer at Tottenham throughout the last four transfer windows, but it was the 34-year-old’s prior relationship with Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton that brought him to White Hart Lane in 2014.
Not long after, Spurs snapped up MK Dons midfielder Dele Alli for a £5million fee and if his debut campaign in north London is anything to go by, finishing up with ten goals and nine assists as the Lilywhites charged for the Premier League title, it won’t be long before the 20-year-old reaches the realms of indisputably world-class.
Harry Redknapp issued Harry Kane his senior debut, whilst Andre Villas-Boas is credited with his inaugural outing in the Premier League and and Tim Sherwood gave the striker his first consistent run in the Spurs starting XI. Nonetheless, it’s under Mauricio Pochettino in which the England international has truly flourished, emerging from the peripheries of the first-team squad to bag 59 goals over the last two seasons – including 46 strikes in the top flight.
The 23-year-old is now one of the most prolific goalscorers in the Premier League and much is owed to Pochettino’s faith in young players.
It was a season that ended in bitter disappointment but nonetheless proved the phenomenal progress Spurs have made during Mauricio Pochettino’s two-year reign.
Some dared to doubt the Argentine’s future at the club during the first few weeks of the campaign but Spurs eventually finished it by recording their highest final standing in the top flight since 1989/90.
Consequentially, the Lilywhites are now preparing for their first Champions League campaign in five years.
For a club that have been forced to settle for fringe involvement in the England set-up since the days of Gazza and Chris Waddle, it’s staggering to think eleven of the last 19 Three Lions debutants have been coached by the Spurs boss – albeit harking back to his Southampton days.
Five Spurs stars made the Euro 2016 squad and all five started the opening fixture against Russia. In comparison, just two Spurs players made it to Euro 2012 – Jermain Defoe and Scott Parker – and none were selected by Roy Hodgson for the 2014 World Cup.
Tottenham’s soft underbelly was immortalised in folk law by Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary pre-match team talk that consisted of just three words ‘Lads, it’s Tottenham’.
But since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival, the notion of Spurs being a soft touch has been completely eradicated by the Argentine’s industrious, energetic and aggressive philosophy.
Spurs may lack the quality, depth and spending power of some of their Premier League rivals, but nobody can accuse the north Londoners of needing to prove their grit, commitment and desire. After decades of being deemed style over substance, this is perhaps Poch’s greatest gift to the Lilywhites.