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Premier League: How far can Pochettino take Tottenham next season?

A rare moment of celebration for Erik Lamela - can Pochettino bring the best out of his countryman?
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It's a bright new dawn - again - at White Hart Lane with the appointment of (yet another) head coach in form of Mauricio Pochettino. The appointment has been well received by Tottenham fans on social media, but what can they expect from the former Southampton boss? Spurs blogger Chris Miller takes a look...

"The pressure will be on for Pochettino to maintain Tottenham’s recent record - they’ve finished in the top six for the last five seasons, and anything below this will be seen by many as failure. In the early Betfair market, Spurs are around [1.5] to finish in the top six."

Mauricio Pochettino - are you feeling OK? Did you not see what happened to the last guy? And the guy before that? And the... you get the picture. 

After just five years in management, and less than 18 months of management in the Premier League, the Argentinean's rapid rise has taken him to the Head Coach role at Tottenham Hotspur - a position regarded in recent times as something of a poisoned chalice.

So what does Daniel Levy see in Pochettino that differentiates him from the two previous young managers, André Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood?

Pochettino's Southampton have been widely lauded for their fast-paced attacking football, featuring high tempo pressing (particularly in midfield), impressive levels of ball retention and full-back play reminiscent of the Brazil national team circa 1998.

Importantly from Levy's point of view, this style has been achieved with a youthful and mostly-English team. Last season, his was the second youngest team in the Premier League with an average age of just over 24-years, and of the 15 players to make ten or more Premier League starts for Southampton, nine were Englishmen.

This will appeal to Levy, who has invested heavily in the Academy and youth development since he arrived at the club, forking out for a state of the art training centre along the way. The talent is there and - as the likes of Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb showed last year - some of them are pressing for first team appearances.

Pochettino has given opportunities to the likes of Sam Gallagher and Callum Chambers as well as undoubtedly helping to raise the more established Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez to new levels, and Levy will hope that he can work similar wonders with the talent under the surface at Spurs, not least Pochettino's countryman, Erik Lamela.

Lamela, among many of the talents that Tottenham recruited last summer, failed to make an impact in a first season dogged by injury, and it will be interesting to see how he (and they) fit into a Pochettino team.

Lamela would seem to be a good match for the Lallana role, playing nominally on the wing but drifting inside to link up with a front man. Etienne Capoue's tough-tackling and forward-focused passing style would be a reasonable match for Morgan Schneiderlin, and Sandro's pressing and aggression for Victor Wanyama.

Where that leaves Paulinho and Christian Eriksen, we will have to wait and see, but Pochettino has proven that he is capable of bringing the best out of individuals.

There will be league objectives, though. The pressure will be on for Pochettino to maintain Tottenham's recent record - they've finished in the top six for the last five seasons, and anything below this will be seen by many as failure. In the early Betfair market, Spurs are around [1.5] to finish in the top six.

Champions League football will not necessarily be a requirement for next season, but Levy will certainly be aiming at that for the following year - he demands year-on-year progress.

But if you think Pochettino can have as a dramatic an impact at Tottenham as he had at Southampton then the [4.1] on offer for them to finish in the top four might tempt you.

Pochettino's exit will no doubt have a profound effect on Southampton, meanwhile, and the fact that he is likely to be followed out the door by some of their stars from this season means that their fans are fearing the worst. They are now [9.2] to get relegated, having been matched at a high of [13.5]. That price may well come in depending on who the owners appoint as manager.

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