Tottenham Hotspur are on the cusp of qualifying for their fourth consecutive Champions League, even as they participate in the semifinals of the current one. That’s fantastic, even as we all acknowledge that the job is not quite done.
But there’s nowhere to look but ahead, according to Mauricio Pochettino. Spurs’ boss opened up about the Spurs’ future in recent comments to the press, and he was remarkably open and unvarnished with his vision for what needs to happen in the future.
“When you talk about Tottenham, everyone says you have an amazing house but you need to put in the furniture. If you want to have a lovely house maybe you need better furniture. And it depends on your budget if you are going to spend money. We need to be respectful with teams like Manchester City or Liverpool who spend a lot of money. We are brave, we are clever, we are creative.
“Now it’s about creating another chapter and to have the clear idea of how we are going to build that new project. We need to rebuild. It’s going to be painful.”
We have seen Pochettino talk on several occasions about this season being the end of one phase in Tottenham Hotspur’s development and the beginning of another one. But perhaps more so than any past statement, this carries the weight of warning along with it — Tottenham may have managed to do something great this season despite the austerity that comes from a new stadium build and a whole year without any incoming players.
Pochettino is being pretty emphatic and clear — standing still is no longer an option. Spurs need to move forward. They have survived, now they need to advance.
“The problem is, what do we want for the next chapter of the club? Now we’ve finished the training ground, finished the stadium. What does the club want to achieve in the next 1, 2 3 or 5 years and what are the fans going to expect from the club?
”There’s many things to talk about and put on the table, and then try to be realistic. We cannot live like we lived in the last five years – on the perception side and on the reality side.
”We achieved a lot of things. We overachieved maybe. I don’t know. Because of our ambition, the way that we work and many things we can praise, we’re here now in a very good position. But what next?”
That question of what now? is critical, especially this summer. No one really expects Spurs to hold pat in the transfer window again as they have for the past two. There will be incoming players — this season’s repeated injury crises have exposed a terrifyingly thin squad, even as Pochettino has managed to seemingly squeeze blood out of a stone.
We don’t yet know what Poch means by a “painful rebuild” — likely he’s referring to outgoing players. Christian Eriksen? Kieran Trippier? Erik Lamela? Poch wouldn’t say, only that he is working on a vision for the club, and that if he has his way, changes are afoot.
“I cannot guess, because it’s a club decision and talk. What can we expect now? One question the other day was ‘the depth of the squad is not at the quality of the new stadium’ in a press conference. If we start next season talking about that, nothing good is going to happen in the future.
“We cannot sell to our fans negative things. We must always be positive, but sometimes if it’s too positive, we create an expectation that’s not the reality. Maybe I’m boring, talking about that, but that’s the reality. We need to fight for big things, behave like a big club and do things properly.”