Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino warned fans their rebuild would be ‘painful’ months before he got the sack.
He wasn’t wrong. And four years later, Spurs have finally got a squad worth getting excited about with new manager Ange Postecoglou reaping the rewards.
Pochettino wasn’t given the time to carry out his Tottenham rebuildGetty Images – Getty
New Spurs boss Postecoglou has dazzled since his appointment in the summerGetty
Flash back to May 2019 and Pochettino told the Spurs faithful they were set to go thorough a ‘painful’ period in his bid to create a new chapter at the club.
Just a month later, he took Tottenham to the Champions League final where they lost against Liverpool, with fans of the belief that they would assemble a star-studded squad to become regular European powerhouses.
But Pochettino was given Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Jack Clarke and Ryan Sessegnon and faltering stars remained unsold – it ultimately cost him his job.
A 2-2 home draw against Sheffield United in November left Spurs languishing in 14th spot in the Premier League, leading the 51-year-old to swiftly be sacked.
It was a decision that infuriated fans in hindsight, with the subsequent appointments of Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte ending in spectacular fashion.
The arrivals of serial winners Mourinho and Conte were expected to end Spurs’ trophy drought, but they both failed – while their defensive style of play was totally against the club’s attacking philosophy.
Spurs ultimately opted for a new approach when finding Conte’s successor – a project manager with the aim of delivering long-term success as opposed to a quick-fix.
Chairman Daniel Levy may not get a lot right in the eyes of supporters, but his appointment of Postecoglou has rejuvenated the fanbase.
Spurs wielded the axe on Pochettino in December 2019 following a draw against Sheffield UnitedGetty Images – Getty
Postecoglou will be hoping his side blow away the Blades in north London this weekendAFP
While rival fans mocked the hiring of the ex-Celtic boss, Levy was confident he was the right man to bring the good times back.
But with all-time record scorer Harry Kane sold to Bayern Munich, pundits predicted pain for Tottenham, with Michael Owen stating they will finish the season in ninth spot.
However, with deadwood moved on and young talent signed and starting straight away they currently sit second in the table having picked up ten points from a possible 12 on offer.
Summer transfers James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, Guglielmo Vicario and Manor Salomon have all starred, while deadline day arrival Brennan Johnson could prove to be a huge hit in north London.
It is the type of summer that Pochettino would have been dreaming of in 2019 – with Spurs bringing in a goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, winger and striker.
And Spurs have also shipped out a number of their fringe players, with Postecoglou also having the luxury of benching those liable to mistakes following their impressive summer window.
The north Londoners welcome Sheffield United back to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend four years after they got Pochettino the axe.
Just one player from their line-up that day – skipper Heung-Min Son – is expected to be named in Saturday’s starting XI.
This is how Spurs started in Pochettino’s final fixture in north London
Only one player from that line-up started for Spurs in their last outing
Pochettino never got the time needed to complete his rebuild, with Spurs paying the price in recent seasons for his premature dismissal.
But his long-term goals for the club are seemingly coming to fruition under the tutelage of former Australia manager Postecoglou.
No longer a team in disarray, fans can finally look forward to the future with a team whose trajectory is only on the way up.