Roy Hodgson has defended Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino over his trophy drought.
Spurs crashed out the FA Cup with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Hodgson’s Crystal Palace on Sunday after losing their League Cup semi-final against Chelsea on penalties last week.
Why does Pochettino come in for criticism for his record? Five things to know…
- Pochettino started his career in management, in 2009 with Espanyol.
- He joined Southampton in 2013 before taking the helm at Spurs two years later, getting the south coast club to its highest top-flight league position (8th) since 2003 in his time there.
- At Spurs he hasn’t won a trophy despite making the League Cup final in his maiden year and four other domestic cup semi-finals.
- The Argentinian has consistently held the opinion that success in the Premier League and Champions League are more crucial to Spurs’ future than domestic cup wins.
- Tottenham haven’t won a trophy since the League Cup in 2008.
The north London club are also nine points adrift of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League and have the unenviable task of taking on Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last-16.
But Hodgson, who himself hasn’t won a trophy since the 2001 Danish Super Cup, has defended Pochettino, saying people are ‘naive’ to think trophies are the be-all and end-all.
“If the be-all and end-all of your ability is have you got a trophy to your name, I find that hard to understand,” he said ahead of their FA Cup clash on Sunday. “It’s so naive in terms of what the job of being a football coach is all about.
“Unfortunately you are just dooming 97-to-98 per cent of all the people working in football as failures because they may not have a chance of winning a trophy.
“What about the Rotherham manager (Paul Warne)? Is he going to be a hopeless manager all his life who never wins a trophy?
“People should sort of wise up to what football is today and stop talking about trophies.
“They should look at the fact (Pochettino’s) taken over a Tottenham team who, really and truly, are having their longest spell as being considered Premiership title contenders, Champions League contenders, bringing through loads and loads of homegrown players.
“What’s a trophy got to do with it?
“He’s good. Anyone who watches football and watches Tottenham play would have to be an admirer of the way they play football, and the way they go about their business.
“The manager has an integral part in that. So, as far as I’m concerned, if you’re only going to call managers who have won a trophy any good, then basically you have four or five.”
Pochettino himself played down the importance of trophies after Sunday’s defeat, stating Spurs are prioritising a top-four finish.
“Again we’re going to have the debate whether a trophy will take the club to the next level,” he told reporters.
“I don’t agree with it. It only builds your ego. The most important thing for Tottenham right now is to always be in the top four.”
Tottenham deserve to win trophies – Vertonghen
Despite an emphasis on maintaining Champions League football from his manager, Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen believes the club ‘deserve’ silverware and thinks it would be ‘a shame’ if this side didn’t win a trophy.
Asked about that elusive trophy, the 31-year-old said: “It’s very important. It’s such a shame. This team deserves so much more, so many trophies. But this league is so competitive.
“There are so many teams out there competing for a rare prize. Over the last five years, we haven’t had a lot of luck. We’ve been so good, I’ve seen this team grow to the level we are at now.
“It would be a big shame if we don’t reward ourselves, this team. Everyone in the club deserves that reward.”