Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen has emphasised the importance of manager Mauricio Pochettino in a tell-all interview with the London Evening Standard.
What’s the story?
At the end of another trophy-less season at Tottenham, Pochettino called on chairman Daniel Levy to “be brave, take risks and create a new idea” at the club.
The Spurs manager has been coy when asked about his long-term future, claiming the club need to progress “with [him] or another.”
Speculation about Pochettino’s future has been rife, the latest reports linking the Argentine with a move across the capital to Chelsea.
Eriksen raised a few key points during the interview. Firstly, he addressed the rumours surrounding Pochettino – who he insists is a “Spurs man”.
“He’s really important. You can see what he has achieved with this club. When I arrived [in summer 2013], there was a season with a lot of ups and downs at first but ever since [Pochettino joined a year later] it’s really been very stable — finishing in the top three is a big achievement for the manager.”
Secondly, the Dane was very complimentary on the style of play the manager has brought to the team:
“He can have a big pat on his shoulders for the people around him and for him. He’s pushed us and the players in the right direction. We’re going into every game and winning games with the right mentality with exciting football. The fans in particular, I hope, enjoy how we play.
“I enjoy how we play under the manager. I think the style of play is something that suits me and the players we have. Generally, you’re going into every game with excitement. You know you’re going to play forward and not going to defend.”
Finally, Eriksen reflected on what’s to come and Spurs fans will be relieved to hear it includes Tottenham:
“The next step is, of course, to finish the semis and try to get through [to a final]. I think if we do what we did against all the teams in the Champions League again, we have a chance of going even further.
“I think we’ve shown in the Champions League we have something we can take with us. We’re over the hill, we tried it. Now we want to win something, we want to go further. Mentally that’s a big step we need to go forward.”
Pochettino’s achievements in north London will not have gone unnoticed by Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich.
At Spurs the Argentine has presided over three consecutive top-three finishes despite having a net spend of £50m. To put that in context, the two teams who finished above Spurs this season, United and City, both have a net spend of over £400million in the same period.
While Levy may be reluctant to release the financial shackles at Spurs, Abramovich has shown time and time again he is prepared to spend the big bucks. Levy must give Pochettino the resources he needs if he harbours serious ambitions of taking the club to the next level.
If he doesn’t, there is a very real possibility that Pochettino will be managing in west London next season.