Publication date: Tuesday 1 January 2019 7:53
Mauricio Pochettino did not blame the referees, nor did he insist that his side deserved to win. In fact, it was the opposite: he admitted that the defeat against Wolves last week was a completely self-inflicted wound.
It was a point that he stressed more than once that his players were defeated by a lack of "energy" and "freshness" – not from & # 39; bottle & # 39; – on Saturday. So for the Argentinian to make only one change in his basic line-up against Cardiff three days later, he seemed counter-productive and contradictory.
The 46-year-old has done more than enough to gain trust and confidence in making such huge decisions. Tottenham crossed a lead of three goals in South Wales, never retired from second gear and allowed changes in wholesale for Friday's FA Cup third-round visit to Tranmere.
But one of the boldest and best calls that Pochettino has ever made, because the Tottenham manager continues to pay out dividends. It seems strange that he once made a decision to defeat the future of Heung-min Son, let alone that it was only two and a half years ago.
"He came to me and said he needed my help, and I said: OK, my door is always open," he said in September 2016. "He is a calm person, a nice person." After the Olympics, his idea to leave for Germany, but one thing is what the player wants, and the other is the club's decision, he would like to move in his head, but in the end he accepted the decision to stay and fight for his position. "
A month earlier, Son had admitted "it is not a good sign that the transfer of rumors comes true". The South Korean had just completed an underwhelming and an injury-hit first season in White Hart Lane, and was also is already considering a return to more famous coastlines in Germany.
It would have been easy if Pochettino gave up the request of an unfortunate player. Son had made as many appearances as Nacer Chadli and scored as many Premier League goals as Toby Alderweireld in 2015/16; he seemed scarcely good enough to risk disturbing a harmonious locker room. Many managers would have sold him and invested the proceeds again.
Yet he is now one of the main players of the club. When Jose Mourinho complained that Manchester United could no longer sign the best and smartest Tottenham, the examples he used were remarkable. "A few years ago, who was Tottenham's best player? Michael Carrick," he said. "And a few years later, who was the best player? Berbatov.
"Can we go there now and take Harry Kane?" "Dele Alli, Eriksen, son, can we go there and bring those players here?"
That the 26-year-old naturally keeps company with the caliber of player, testifies not only to his genius, but also to the faith of Pochettino. The confidence and perseverance of the manager provided Son with the platform he needed.
With his well-aimed goal against Cardiff, controlling Kane's quick pass and an extra touch to create space between him and Sean Morrison for a smart finish, Son continued his fine form. He now scored 11 goals and scored five in his last 16 games.
It was also his 58th goal under Pochettino – only Kane (153) has more. He has solved two problems that have long haunted Tottenham: he can both replace and need Kane, and supplement, support and otherwise share the goal-making burden.
Pochettino has some drastic decisions to take in the coming weeks. The form player of the Premier League will miss a maximum of five games if he joins the South Korea team for the Asian Games later this month. How Tottenham must argue and briefly share custody of their brilliant Son.