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Thursday 17 October 2019

Richard Dunne: Time could be up for Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino is facing a crisis at Tottenham after their poor start to the season
Mauricio Pochettino is facing a crisis at Tottenham after their poor start to the season

It's not so long ago that Mauricio Pochettino was being spoken about as the next manager of Manchester United or Real Madrid, or any club of his choosing. Now, it looks as if he's time at Tottenham has run its course, or close to it

And, overall, this week showed that there are cracks in the Premier League when it comes to the Champions League. It shows that some English clubs struggle to focus on Europe and the domestic title.

Spurs and Liverpool conceding 10 goals collectively at home in the Champions League is not a good advert for the Premier League.

Last season there was a hint of invincibility about the English clubs in terms of Europe, with Liverpool beating Spurs to claim the Champions League and Chelsea winning the Europa League, beating Arsenal in the final.

Now clubs are pushing them closer and asking more questions.

The fact that the Spurs players dropped their heads and gave up in the game against Bayern this week is a sign that things are not right at the club.

There has been a lot of talk, lots of rumours and stories coming out of Spurs about players being unhappy. Every time the manager speaks he seems to be having a go at someone. And when that happens, it doesn't end well.

It a surprise given how well Spurs did in Europe last year but now you'd worry - and the end could be on the way for the manager.

The rule of thumb in football should be that you take an opportunity when it arises as it might not come around again.

As a player it could be a injury that stops you, as manager it could be a run of bad results. You can stop being flavour of the month very quickly.

Options

Pochettino will have options if he does leave Spurs. Just not the same options he would have had a few months ago.

He could regroup and make his star shine bright again but I can't see the big clubs beating a path to the door of a manager whose team have just lost 7-2 at home.

He's on a lot of money so he won't walk away, and maybe the club will feel that with all he's done for them over the last two years, he has earned the right to try and turn things around.

He may get time but then it's down whether he can get his players back to his way of thinking.

But if he has lost his enthusiasm for the role, it's very hard to get that back

Spurs squad has not changed a great deal over the last few years and that is taking its toll now. They needed more players than the couple they signed in the summer, and it shows.

When stories start to come out of a club, like Christian Eriksen having to deny stuff about his private life, it all starts to fall apart. When clubs are doing well, you never hear anything negative coming from the camp.

Now it seems to be open season, all the stories coming out are negative.

The Eriksen story is one you don't want to hear at any time and players like him should be allowed to focus on what they have to do on the pitch.

Liverpool might argue that they won their game against Salzburg this week and that's all that counts, but it does raise questions. You want to win, but you need to win well, especially if you had written off their Napoli performance in the first group game.

Liverpool built everything on the fact that their foundations at the back were strong but we already see signs of that creaking.

The fact that Liverpool won the Champions League last season has resulted in them taking their eye off things. Maybe their desire to win the Premier League, as it's been so long since they won a domestic title, means the Champions League doesn't have the same appeal this year.

Lucky

And I'd wonder if Tottenham feel that they were lucky to get as far as they did last season but will never get as close again so what's the point in trying too hard?

But they both need to be in a better place than they are now.

Chelsea came away with an impressive win in the Champions League, yet they are still a mixed bag that I can't make out.

Sometimes you look at Chelsea and think they are too young, too naive. But then again, they have started to pick up a couple of good results.

With so many new players in the squad, the experience of winning games is massive and that one in midweek, winning away in the Champions League, will be a major boost for those players.

The manager will take a lot out of the Lille win too, that will back up his belief that he's doing the right thing. There were always going to be doubts over Frank Lampard because of the pressure on managers at that club, but the fact he's getting results will help him and help his younger players.

And the real test in the Premier League this weekend is Liverpool against Leicester City, who have been really impressive. But the next task for someone like Leicester is to go away to a big venue, like Anfield, and get a win.

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