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Brave New World, Inside Pochettino's Spurs

Guillem Balagué has written a book on Mauricio Pochettino's work at Tottenham, which comes out this Thursday, October 26th.

Tottenham Hotspur have made incredible progress under the management of Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentinian arrived at the club in 2014 and since then has been building a project that aims to take Spurs to the next level. So far, they have already moved far forward: in 2016 they finished 3rd for the first time in 26 years and last season they were runners-up for the first time in 54 years.

Under Pochettino, Tottenham are re-establishing themselves as one of the big powers in English football. They have proven that they are able to stay in the title fight alongside the best sides in the league, and this season they are also competing against even bigger teams across Europe in the Champions League — beating Dortmund 3-1 and then getting a point from their visit to the Bernabéu last week.

Another aspect of Pochettino’s coaching style that says a lot about him is his ability to promote young players into the first team and help them improve there. Of the last 30 debutants for the English National Team, 15 were managed by Pochettino at Southampton - his previous club - or Spurs. Him and his coaching staff create an ideal environment for young talent to flourish. Beside having a clear plan for their teams’ technical, tactical and physical training, they are also great at man-management.

Impulsing this revolution at the North London club there is a lot of effort from Pochettino and his coaching staff. Guillem Balagué spent the 2016/17 season closely following their work with his impressive amount of access. That access became the key element of his new book, Brave New World, Inside Pochettino’s Spurs, which is coming out this Thursday the 26th of October and can be preordered on Amazon — (The book is already within Amazon’s best sellers and it has not even gone out).

The book explores how Pochettino has revitalised Tottenham through insights from the engine room, as Balagué had regular conversations with his coaching staff and Pochettino himself, as well as players. It also shows the personal side of Pochettino as manager: his experience, his football idea, his concerns, his approach to players, and his methods. It also has a diary-like format, as it is written in first person. But not all of what is in this 'diary' was said by Pochettino; some parts are adapted to the first person from testimonies of his family, close friends and colleges, who have all played a crucial role in his career.

We spoke to Guillem Balagué about Brave New World and Mauricio Pochettino:

“The reader will find a lot of detail of how a manager does his job. It is not the usual things that can be found in the media, but aspects told from the inside: how does he communicates with his players, how does he handles defeats, how does he work with his staff, how does he disconnect…

Pochettino is special because he is a manager that engages with the players through empathy, he tries to understand them. That empathy, that emotional intelligence, makes him different.

He is an observer and he is thriven by the sensations. He combines that with an attractive football idea. He is highly influenced by his past at Newell’s Old Boys, where there is an important culture of promoting young players through the academy and there is also a brave way of playing football, hence the name of the book, Brave New World.

He manages to entertain the players, to keep them motivated, which is something really difficult in the top level, where there are so many players that stop having passion for what they do. He tries to conserve that passion at all times.

Behind that there is a lot of work, a lot attention put into the small details and an spectacular coaching team: Toni Jiménez, Miguel D’Agostino, and specially, in a technical and tactical sense, Jesús Pérez.”

This is Balagué’s seventh book, following A Season On The Brink, World Cup Diary, The Illustrated History of FC Barcelona, Pep Guardiola: Another Way of Winning, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography.

Photo by Matt West/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9100511o)