Mauricio Pochettino: Premier League’s uniqueness continues to transform

Mauricio Pochettino: Premier League’s uniqueness continues to transform

Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Chelsea, laments the loss of English identity in the Premier League as more technical playstyles are adopted.
The manager is currently in his sixth complete season in England since being hired by Southampton in the middle of the 2012-13 season.

He stabilized the Saints and led them out of the relegation zone before helping to establish them in the top division the following season.

At his next position, Tottenham, he transformed the club from perennial underachievers to consistent Champions League qualifiers and led them to the 2019 final, where they were defeated 2-0 in Madrid by Liverpool.

He is working his first Premier League position since being fired by Spurs in November of that year, and is tasked with reversing Chelsea’s fortunes after they finished 12th last season.

Since Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins at St. Mary’s more than a decade ago, the value and commercial appeal of England’s top division have grown tremendously, with the financial incentive and allure for foreign stars being greater than ever.

It has influenced English football to move away from some of its traditional habits, typically considered to have been centred around stamina and physicality.

“It is true that the Premier League has changed since we joined Southampton (in 2013),” said Pochettino, whose team faces Bournemouth on Sunday at the Vitality Stadium in search of their second league victory of the season.

“Made better? Yes. The capacity of the Premier League to sign athletes from all over the world has strengthened the teams each season.

“However, it is true that it loses some of the identity of British or English football. As a member of the coaching staff, we adore playing in this manner, so I must admit I enjoy it.

“English football was always on the verge of a conflict. But to play excellent football in a different manner is also to play well, because if you wish to play in a different manner, you must be astute in deciding your team’s philosophy and structure.”

When the Premier League was founded in 1992, there were only 13 foreign athletes, none of whom were English, Scottish, Welsh, or Irish.

The influx of players, and just as significantly managers, from overseas has seen the league develop to resemble a more technical style previously associated with Spain, Italy and other European leagues.

Pochettino added, “Losing this type of identity made me a little bit sad because in my mind, English football has always been different.”

“People desire more spectacular, similar events. Obviously, this is the progression of society. People have diverse needs and desires, and we are adjusting accordingly. “Football is evolving.”

After co-owner Todd Boehly’s £1billion recruitment spree, Pochettino reiterated his demand for Chelsea’s young squad – the youngest in the league with an average age of just over 23 – to be given the time they need to mature.

He cited a well-known example of a high-priced athlete who took time to reach his full potential.

“It is not fair to evaluate a player based on a single game, two games, or three games; (a player) is not performing when we engage them and say ‘they need to perform like this’.

“I always use the same illustration. Real Madrid paid between seventy and one hundred million for one athlete, Zinedine Zidane.

“After six months, you can ask Real Madrid’s supporters. After seven or eight months, he began to perform. He was 26 and 27.

“Be cautious when bringing in a player who is 18 or 19 or 20 or 21. They are not robots. They must calm down. We must grant time.”

Mauricio Pochettino: Premier League’s uniqueness continues to transform

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