Mauricio Pochettino, the Argentinean coach renowned for his familial approach to team management, has successfully run four clubs, including trophy-winning spells at Espanyol and Paris Saint-Germain, and impactful tenures at Southampton and Tottenham, despite not clinching any major titles at the latter two. His characteristic brand of appealing and effective football has been a highlight at each of these clubs.
Adapting his unique football style to new players at every club posed significant challenges for Pochettino. He is particularly mindful of the psychological aspect in football, having himself faced the mental hurdles professional footballers encounter daily during his 17-year-long career, including periods at PSG and Espanyol.
Pochettino’s unique strategies to boost team morale, such as establishing a BBQ area at Tottenham’s training ground, set him apart from others. He firmly believes in a reciprocal relationship in football, where well-treated players reward the coaching staff with their on-field performances. Even when a player is benched, the soon-to-be Chelsea head coach ensures they understand it’s for their benefit.
In a 2020 High Performance podcast, Pochettino discussed his philosophy, emphasizing that it’s a collective one, not merely his own. He stressed the need for players to understand that the philosophy aims to provide them with the best tools for peak performance. Pochettino’s experiences as a professional footballer give him a unique perspective on player psychology, enabling him to empathize with players’ simple desires – to play and excel on the field.
According to Pochettino, it’s essential for players to trust their coaching and support staff and realize they work for the players’ benefit. The specific playing philosophy or style is less important than the players feeling that the coaching staff wants the best for them. The line between granting rest periods and pushing players is delicate, but the key, according to Pochettino, is to earn the players’ trust.
The 51-year-old coach is expected in London later this week to finalize the deal to become Chelsea’s new head coach at the season’s end. With his eyes set on the pre-season, Pochettino is eager to establish those essential player relationships as he prepares for his first campaign at Stamford Bridge.