Why Mauricio Pochettino?
Over in Spain, most were wondering exactly why Pochettino had gone to what they saw as a small team. The man had been touted as a future star manager and had been linked to several of the bigger teams in Spain.
Southampton are well known for their past connections with Spanish football. Both Club Athletic de Bilbao and Atlético de Madrid adopted the famous red and white stripes after they couldn`t find any Blackburn Rovers tops in 1911.
British football is well regarded as well by the Spanish, and several former players are held in high esteem. The likes of Matt Le Tissier being one but still all were surprised that the Argentine Coach went to the South Coast.
Many people were surprised that Saints would go for a man that had just left Espanyol with them rooted at the foot of the table. In truth it didn't look like an inspired appointment but look deeper and there is a lot more to be learned.
He took on Espanyol when they were bottom and helped guide them to safety. He gave 12 members of their academy their debuts while at Espanyol and earned an extremely high reputation both as a manager and as a man who gave youth a chance.
The fact that his reign ended with Espanyol back at the foot of the table doesn't tell the full story either. Due to financial restraints most of his first eleven had to be sold and even now players are for sale with the club needing finance.
Espanyol had moved into a new ground after sharing for two decades. This move caused the financial problems with them having overspent. Debts continued to build up and in the spring of 2012, it was announced that the club had sold the rights to some of their most promising players. In the summer 10 players were let go.
Shades of Saints with their move causing financial restraints until we hit administration and the rescue by Markus Liebherr.
At Espanyol Mauricio showed that along with being a good manager he was also a tough one as well. He joined Espanyol with several players still playing from when he was a player there.
He didn`t hide or pass responsibility, no this was a Coach who had a plan and a system and was determined to see it work. He did what he felt necessary and friend or not the unwanted were removed.
This season there was a poor start to the season and enough was enough. Bitter in-house fighting ended in October with a final bitter boardroom battle that saw resignations and Pochettino walked.
Now the man has landed on the South coast with a club that has similar beliefs to his. We have a thriving Academy and share the vision of seeing the youngsters reaching the first team and becoming integral parts of the system.
Though we may see a signing or two this transfer window I don't see many changes being made structurally to the main components of the team yet. Summer though may well see us making some important changes to the squad.
It will be interesting to see how our current squad can improve with the help of our new man and still be playing a year or two down the road.
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