Is the prospect of "Pochettino out" getting real?
By Joe Harker
After being battered 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League the last thing Tottenham Hotspur needed was a difficult Premier League tie to contend with over the weekend.
Under normal circumstances a game against a Brighton and Hove Albion side without a win since the first round of league fixtures ought to have been the perfect opportunity for Mauricio Pochettino's side to get a much needed win.
It didn't quite go as Spurs will have been hoping, they lost 3-0.
After the game there were some calls of "Pochettino out" from the Spurs fans. Not enough to represent anything close to a majority but enough to be noteworthy, particularly given the status he enjoyed at the club until very recently.
The prospect of Pochettino being sacked would have been ridiculous at the start of the season. It is only a few months ago that he got them to the Champions League final, though besides an incredible European run it has been a miserable 2019 for Spurs.
Former Spurs player Jermaine Jenas thinks his old club "stinks" of a managerial sacking being imminent.
Jenas said he'd seen similar situations before when he had been playing at the club where the manager had reached a point of all signs indicating an imminent sacking.
He wants Pochettino to stay but said something would need to change at the club for that to happen. Either the players needed to change their mentality or the players themselves would need to be different as years of the same squad with the same manager had made things stale.
The Counter Claim:
However, Pochettinho himself vowed to turn things around and said he wouldn't quit after losing to Brighton.
Things have been difficult for the manager this year but he insists he's going nowhere despite the pressure, certain of his ability to turn things around.
The manager still retains the support of much of the fanbase, having guided Spurs through some of their highest points in the Premier League era and gained much affection from the crowds.
Pochettino is clearly an excellent manager and the club should be careful about ditching him for the hope that his successor is able to get a tune out of underperforming players who are looking for the exit already.
In these situations it often comes down to "change the players vs change the manager" and the latter option tends to be the cheaper, easier choice to make. However, Spurs are in the peculiar position where several of their key players are trying to leave so ditching the manager might solve very little.
The Athletic reports that the Spurs players describe the club as a "regime" and are getting sick of Pochettino.
They also report that the players most desperate to leave are Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose. The contracts of all besides Rose expire at the end of the season, with the left back's current deal ending in 2021.
Eriksen almost left the club in the summer and has made it clear he would like to move on, while the Belgian centre back pairing of Vertonghen and Aderweireld have their eyes on the exit door too. Rose has almost gone for the past three summers.
The departure of Kyle Walker in 2017 to Manchester City was reportedly the catalyst for many in the Spurs squad realising that they might need to get a transfer if they wanted to win trophies and earn higher wages. Signed by Spurs as parts of their grand project, some of the squad now think they need to go somewhere else.
As for what this means for Pochettino, he must hang on until the end of the season and make big changes to the squad to ensure there are more players who see his message as a fresh one. This current crop of players and manager seem to be reaching the end of their journey together.