12th July 2017
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino explains the importance of individuals in the team game
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is one of the hottest properties in football right now. The young Argentine, a relative unknown when he arrived in England in 2013, has achieved two top three Premier League finishes with the London club, turning players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli into household names.
Following a successful spell at Southampton, Pochettino moved to his current new club in the summer of 2014 with aspirations of one day winning the league. His first task when arriving in north London was the difficult task of assembling his backroom staff.
In an exclusive interview with UCFB, Pochettino outlined the qualities he looks for in such staff. He said: “Firstly they have to be good people. They need to be honest, loyal people and need to feel passionate about what they do.”
He added: “The first thing we did when we arrived at this club was explain that every person in every area would be key if we were going to be successful because any person can affect the player’s mental aspect.”
The former Espanyol player and coach went on to discuss the psychology of players and how important he believes it is to individual and team performance.
Pochettino said: “Psychology is important for me and I feel the potential to improve in that area is massive. We have worked with specialists in that area to help players off the pitch, in their private lives. It is a skill all coaches need to have.”
He touched on the importance of the club’s medical staff after FIFPro research showed there is a direct correlation between injured players and their mental health. 38% of 607 current players and 35% of 219 former players sampled reported suffering from symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Sleeping disturbance, 23% and 28% respectively, distress, 15% and 18%, and adverse alcohol use, 9% and 25%, have been found to be prevalent as well.
He added: “The players need to feel that we are not just coaches but that we have the quality to help them in that area too. Not only us, but the medical staff can be very important too.”
Regular viewers of Spurs over the last three seasons will have seen a squad of close-knit footballers whose age and ability has pushed the leagues’ big spenders all the way. The time has now come for Pochettino’s talented squad to turn their promise into prizes.
Though a fine team, the Argentine spoke of how each player needed to be treated differently. He said: “Football is a collective sport but you need to treat every component of the team differently. We have created a different programme for each player because they are all different. That is very difficult to do because we need a lot of people involved to assess and analyse but we have the quality of staff to do that. “
He added: “It is then another job to put it all together and make it work on the pitch. It’s easy to do when everyone is fit, strong and feels invincible. “