Doha, 7 October 2019. The Aspire Academy Global Summit on Football Performance & Science Masterclass presentation was delivered by Tottenham Hotspur manager, Mauricio Pochettino on the opening day at Aspire in Doha. The former Argentine international gave an absorbing insight into his coaching philosophy and theory. Pochettino was speaking at Aspire Academy Football Performance Centre (FPC) on Day 1 of the 5th edition of the biggest gathering of youth football experts in the world.
Pochettino is highly regarded among the breed of young coaches who have moved from playing to coaching successfully in the recent past gave the keynote address, to youth coaches and scientists from 49 of some the world top football clubs who listened alongside, Qatar Stars league coaches as well former players Tim Cahill, Hernan Crespo and Santiago Scolari. Pochettino begun by congratulating Aspire Academy for what he called” the most amazing facilities boasting cutting edge technology football performance centre.” I congratulate the Qatar Football Association for the victory in the Asian Cup. Whenever we come here to Qatar and Aspire, we are encouraged and struck by the vision, planning and the passion this country shows for sport development it therefore follows that there is tremendous progress in Qatar football as we saw in Aspire Director General, Ivan Bravo’s presentation.”
Pochettino described his philosophy as loosely deriving from, “Football being a contest of emotions”. The game brings out passion, desire and drive and when commitment is added we see that it transcends society and a lot is involved. We must however not lose sight of the fact that we are responsible for safe guarding and passing on the game to our children, so we are custodians really. We are here at the Aspire Academy Global Summit on Football Performance on the back of two recent loses, in the Champions League – against Bayern Munich and against Brighton and Hove in the Premier League. This sport we love throws these situations to us and l believe it is in times of problems that you keep going. When l consider how a boy born in in the small Argentine town of Murphy has lived out his dreams to play and manager at the level l am at, l am encouraged to keep going, so yes, the recent results at Tottenham Hotspur have not been good. It’s for me and my coaching staff to find the tools to help the players regain the form and mentality that got us the positive results from last season.”
When talking about the football philosophy they employ at Hotspur, Pochettino said for him, “Football is born in the heart. We can talk about tactics and formations but its starts from the heart and attitude within a player. Every coach and manager works on how to be competitive, we seek to motivate players and that good and last for so long, but when we inspire that has a long effect.” Pochettino went on to recount how in his playing days with Espanyol, he had the chance to meet with Aspire Academy, Football Ambassador and Advisor, Bora Milutinovic whose passion and philosophy exhibited by a competitive drill that he challenged players to. “Coach Bora would challenge players to hit the ball to the nearest distance to set lines on the ground. I have never forgotten the competitive urge l learnt from him, and l too seek to inspire those l work with, said Pochettino.
The Argentine admitted he is not one for speaking in public, but was at the Aspire Academy Global Summit on Football Performance & Science to share some of his accumulated lessons in the game. “I prefer to give the players the freedom to make choices on the field. We work on different things in training and come match day, the decisions on the field are up to the players. I tell my players that football is about today and tomorrow and not yesterday. By this l want them not to dwell on their mistakes at the expense of what they need to do in the next game. I know that Aspire Academy is on the path to more use of science in football including mental toughness and for sure we need to use science to improve the game. I think football in general as a sport is still behind in what we can do with science.”
The Argentine also spoke about how the pressures of today’s football means that a difficult period like his team is currently going through with results brings about a lot of unsubstantiated news, most of it in social media and untrue. “One thing that I can tell for sure is that my personal relationship with the Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur is not going to change regardless of what happens.“
Pochettino rounded off his Masterclass by extolling, “ all who are in football and love the game, to keep pressing on especially when facing problems, because it’s easy when everyone is praising you and when you are winning. As for me l will keeping going and doing the things that brought me success before and l will be stronger,” concluded Mauricio Pochettino.