With the announcement this week of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s full-time appointment as Manchester United manager, Spurs fans all over the world will have breathed a collective sigh of relief.
For a long time, it looked as though Ed Woodward’s preferred candidate for the Old Trafford role was Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham’s over-achieving Argentine boss. The football world was expecting United to begin negotiating with Pochettino as soon as this season ended with Solskjaer having steadied the ship.
As it happened, United’s former baby-faced assassin, Solskjaer, surprised us all with a 73% win-rate since replacing Jose Mourinho in the hot-seat back in December. He has been given a three-year contract at the club he loves, leading Spurs fans to believe they can rest easy, for now.
However, as highly regarded as ‘Poch’ is in north London, Spurs fans will be more than slightly concerned with the team’s recent form.
One point from their last four Premier League games means that Pochettino’s side is now just one point clear of their local rivals, Arsenal. More concerning for Spurs fans is the fact they now lead 5th-placed Manchester United by just three points with eight games still to play for both teams, causing some to sign up with Betfred promo code to back a 5th place finish instead.
Champions League qualification, which looked a certainty back in December/January when Spurs were considered to be in a title race with Liverpool and Manchester City, is no longer a foregone conclusion.
Still, perspective is needed when looking at how well Spurs have done this season. Due to the club’s finances being tied up in the building of what is going to their new Nike Stadium, Pochettino was not able to delve into the transfer market last summer or, indeed, in January of this year. In fact, the only transfer of note was when the club sold their midfielder Mousa Dembele to Guangzhou of the Chinese Super League.
For Pochettino to have this Spurs team performing as well as they had been up until early February is nothing short of remarkable.
They are, of course, still going strong in the UEFA Champions League as well with a quarter-final match-up with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team to look forward to.
Spurs’ long drawn-out move to The Nike Stadium appears to finally be nearing completion. They are due to play their first home match there in early April. Yet, it’s still unclear just how much of a transfer budget Pochettino will be rewarded with for his patience come the end of the season.
With Real Madrid having opted for Zinedine Zidane again, it really does look like Spurs might be able to keep hold of the in-demand Pochettino for another season at least. The problem they now face is making sure they are competing in the Champions League for the fourth year in a row.