Earlier this week, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino forgot that he’s in charge of the 12th richest team in the world (in terms of revenue generated at least) and came out with a rather remarkable set of quotes in claiming the clear moral high-ground in this battle of the haves and the supposed have-nots on Saturday.
“If you analyse where we came from, it’s a fantastic time for Tottenham. The way you build your project is important to analyse. Tottenham is not building now in an artificial way.”
“It is not about putting in money, money, money, and building a fantastic stadium and fantastic team. Tottenham is very genuine, it is a very natural process and it is so exciting because it is unique in the world.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Mirror
There’s no doubt that Spurs have made some smart buys in recent years, especially with Dele Alli and Eric Dier turning into lynchpins of the team. And there’s also no argument that Chelsea tend to operate in one financial stratum above Spurs when it comes to the market — we don’t have to look any further than Michy Batshuayi or Willian, both of whom were set for Tottenham before Chelsea swept in with more money. But to claim that Spurs are somehow building in a non-artificial way is a bit laughable. Sure, Harry Kane and Danny Rose are academy products, but beyond that, the team has been built just like any other professional team: with money, and scouting, and more money. Nothing unique about it, sorry, Poche.
One suspects this is just one part of Pochettino building up all week to his main message of Spurs being the underdogs on Saturday, despite being the current best and most in-form team in the land while also playing this game in their pseudo-home stadium.
“If there’s a favourite it’s Chelsea, top of the Premier League, with experienced players and the manager they have. We are talking about the team who in the past five years won European competitions, World Cups, a manager who won the title in Italy, they’re more experienced.”
Oh the irony of using history, however recent, as a supposed advantage for Chelsea!
Pochettino’s main concern is taking that final winning step, to eclipse their own narrative and show that they are no longer Spursy.
“We’re in a good moment too. We’re hungry and to challenge this team is important for Tottenham...”
“The team is playing in a good way, exciting football, scoring goals, conceding not too much. We are in a great moment. That is most important. Now is the moment to translate those statistics and that feeling, and show if you’ve grown up and learned or if you’re very close to winning the League or the FA Cup. That’s the most difficult step to achieve.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Telegraph
Most of the pressure may be on league leaders Chelsea (even if this is technically a different competition), but despite Pochettino’s best efforts, Spurs will be feeling it, too. The place in the FA Cup final, as well as the psychological boost for the remaining six games in the league, shall go to the team most able to cope with all that and perform up to their capabilities.