Belfast Telegraph

Will new Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino pass Daniel Levy's test?

Mauricio Pochettino was last night given a five-year deal to succeed Tim Sherwood as Tottenham Hotspur's head coach on the strength of his success at developing players at Southampton.

The Argentine will be expected to work with the squad he inherits at White Hart Lane rather than conduct any large-scale overhaul.

Pochettino's move to White Hart Lane was formalised last night and it is the manner of his achievements at Southampton that appealed to Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman.

Last summer Levy sanctioned a £107m spending spree but after wielding his ruthless axe on Andre Villas-Boas and Sherwood this season, Pochettino will be given little funds to play with.

Pochettino becomes the ninth manager under Levy during his 13-year spell at White Hart Lane.

Southampton are keen to replace Pochettino with Gus Poyet but face a struggle to lure the former Brighton manager back to the south coast.

Poyet has a release clause in his Sunderland contract which has to be triggered by the end of this month. The Uruguayan, who oversaw Sunderland's escape from relegation, has been considering his future before working as a pundit for ITV on the World Cup.

Unlike Poyet's move into management, Pochettino arrived in this country as a relative unknown, having left his job at Espanyol.

But his success in a season and a half at Southampton – they finished the last campaign in eighth, their best in the Premier League – and both the manner of his side's football and the home-grown players who have flourished under his direction are the key factors in his appointment.

"In Mauricio I believe we have a head coach who, with his high energy and attacking football, will embrace the style of play we associate with our club," said Levy.

"He has a proven ability to develop each player as an individual, whilst building great team spirit and a winning mentality. We have a talented squad that Mauricio is excited to be coaching next season."

The 42-year-old, who favours an intense pressing and possession game, brought through a raft of young players at Southampton, something he did at Espanyol as well, with the likes of Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw all winning international recognition.

Older players like Rickie Lambert have also found a new lease of life under Pochettino's direction.

Tottenham hope he will have a similar affect at White Hart Lane, and rouse the likes of Erik Lamela, his fellow Argentine, who endured a miserable first season in England after becoming the club's £30m record signing.

"I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to be head coach," said Pochettino.

"There is an abundance of top-class talent at the club. We are determined to give the supporters the kind of attacking football and success that we are all looking to achieve."

Pochettino brings with him his backroom staff from St Mary's in assistant manager Jesus Perez, first-team coach Miguel D'Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez.

As head coach, Pochettino will work to a technical director, currently Franco Baldini.

The Italian's future remains unsure, as does that of Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey, formerly Tim Sherwood's assistants.

Shaw, soon to follow his former manager out the door, last night tweeted his gratitude to Pochettino, describing him as a "great manager and a great guy".

Poyet is not the only big name being linked to the now vacant Southampton job.

Former Manchester United boss David Moyes, ex-Swansea head coach Michael Laudrup and Neil Lennon,  who recently stepped down as Celtic manager, are all rumoured to be on a list drawn up by the St Mary's board as they ponder their future options.

Ulsterman Lennon was believed to be in the running for the Norwich City job before they decided to appoint Neil Adams on a two-year deal last week.

The former Northern Ireland international has also been touted as a potential candidate to succeed Pepe Mel at West Brom after the Spaniard was axed following the Baggies' close shave with relegation this season.

Belfast Telegraph


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