After a season of sweeping teams away with their relentless attacking display for the majority of last season, there was great intrigue into how Spurs might fare in 2016/17 without the services of Mousa Dembele: a fundamental puzzle piece of the team's success in the last campaign. So far the signs are not looking too good.
In just a few months Pochettino has managed to assert his authority in a way that none of his recent predecessors have. The football has been entertaining, the results have been good, but it is the manner in which they have been achieved that has been the clearest and most welcome manifestation of his influence.
The moment when a player leaves a club isn't usually the time that his efforts get the fairest assessment. If he is going at the peak of his powers the fans are disinclined to appreciate the good times because they feel jilted. If he goes when his best days are behind him, fans are slow to remember him in his pomp.
In getting Spurs to the Capital One Cup final and keeping them in contention for the Europa League and a top four Premiership finish, Pochettino is having a remarkably good first season. To the more delusional Spurs fan this level of achievement might be considered par but given what he's had to contend with, it is much better than that.
Looking at Townsend's performance on Saturday it's very hard to understand how he has leapfrogged Aaron Lennon in the wingers' queue. In fact, apart from an emphatically converted penalty at a crucial point in the Chelsea game, it's difficult to think of anything good Townsend has done for some time now.
Somehow, despite all the moaning, the turgid play, the ordinary players, Franco Baldini, Poch's accent and the small pitch, Spurs are just four points off the top four, two points behind Arsenal, three clear of Liverpool and still in all the cups. But without Eriksen, the picture would be a good deal less rosy.
Knotted brows and shaking heads emerged from White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon; supporters bewildered and dumbstruck by what they had seen. Pouring out of the away end the Stoke fans scratched their heads and demanded of each other in disbelief: how on earth did we only manage to beat that shower by just the one goal?
Pochettino's record is ten wins and four defeats in all competitions so far... If he can achieve all this with a sluggish, misfiring squad, imagine what he'll be able to do once he's got them finely tuned and boosted by a couple of astute signings in January. There's always a bright side if you're prepared to rummage around for it.