Low-risk Mauricio Pochettino can heal Tottenham 10

With Tim Sherwood’s sacking has come the normal fun and games. Between now and whenever Tottenham decide upon and appoint their new manager, the football public will be drip-fed the usual tantilising details about which way Daniel Levy is leaning.

Louis Van Gaal yesterday, Mauricio Pochettino today, Frank De Boer tomorrow.

C’est la vie. Well, C’est la vie chez Tottenham, at least.

Van Gaal will likely be confirmed as Manchester United manager before much longer, realistically leaving Spurs with a flat choice between Pochettino and De Boer. De Boer seems to believe that he has achieved all he can at Ajax, whilst Pochettino’s commitment to Southampton has been in question ever since Nicola Cortese tendered his resignation at St Mary’s - with all due respect to both of those clubs, any concerted effort by Tottenham to reach out to either manager is likely to end in success.

Whilst it may be a little ‘Daily Mail’ to question De Boer’s credentials - and contrary to ignore his trophy-haul in Holland - the fact remains that he is untried within Premier League football and represent a risk to Spurs. There are plenty of good managers working in the game who are fundamentally unsuited to English league life, and De Boer might just be another one - whilst we need to discard the tedious ‘but has he managed a team at Stoke on a wet Tuesday night’ fallacy, it’s still important to acknowledge how different our domestic game is to, say, the Eredivisie, La Liga, or Serie A.

Being a good manager is one thing, being a good manager who is suitable to a particular club’s situation and environment is something else.

What Daniel Levy has hopefully learned over the past eighteen months, is that the morale of Tottenham’s fanbase is important. Andre Villas-Boas was never truly accepted by a proportion of the fans and Tim Sherwood was actively hated by a much larger number; Spurs may be in need of many things, but arguably the most important is a sense of unity. Whilst the team may have finished sixth in the Premier League this season and appear, within the context of their recent history, to be performing at a healthy level, bad appointments and in-fighting have cultivated a negative atmosphere and a disaffection which has made the reality feel worse than it really is. As a football fan there’s nothing worse than feeling a creeping indifference towards your team’s results, and that’s ultimately what has started to happen within these last few months.

Tottenham need a new manager, obviously, but Tottenham also need someone who is going to restore a bit of the enthusiasm which has been eroded - and that’s what makes Mauricio Pochettinho feel like the best option going forward.

In this age of oil money and Russian Oligarchs, the chances of the club actually winning something significant are fairly remote, but that doesn’t prevent the existence of a healthy philosophy and aesthetically-pleasing footballing ideals. Attacking football with an emphasis on the development of younger players? Doesn’t that feel - even in the absence of silverware - like a very appealing situation? And doesn’t that also feel like a reality that Pochettino is capable of delivering?

Maybe Frank De Boer is equally capable of providing that, but given that Pochettino has already shown how that his beliefs can translate successfully into the English game he must be considered the more high-percentage option. Spurs need to start heading in the right direction, and there are only so many more ‘restart and resets’ that can be tolerated before the gap between them and the top-four becomes a yawning chasm.

That’s Levy task now; he doesn’t need to appoint a manager who is going to provoke a quantum leap, just someone who is capable of moving the club forward in steady increments in a way that breeds some optimism - and given that it’s not a time to be taking risks, isn’t the high-percentage appointment to install a manager who has spent the last year doing exactly that somewhere else?

There are no miracles needed here; it would actually be quite nice just to see an end to the press-leaking, the bitching and the confusing football.

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