Forget Chelsea and Manchester United, Tottenham Are the Future for Mauricio Pochettino

10/02/2016 17:45 GMT | Updated 10/02/2017 10:12 GMT

They should have put the word 'Spursy' in the Oxford English Dictionary years ago.

Old internetting favourite ​Urban Dictionary carries the term, though, and for the purposes of what follows I'll take it as absolutely necessary and relevant to share the definition. Don't turn your nose up just yet.

Simply, to be Spursy is "to consistently and inevitably fail to live up to expectations. To bottle it."

It derives from football. English, Premier League football. And more specifically, one of said league's permanent incumbents; Tottenham Hotspur. For a generation, this team from north London have lived in the shadow of rivals fiercest rivals Arsenal. Fellow big city residents Chelsea have taken the spotlight in the last decade, too.

Tottenham have, for too long, just been so Tottenham. They've held on to their entertainment values for the most part, but there comes a point where that's just not enough. Genuine success is important too. Especially for a club as big and storied as this one.

Nobody's exactly fond of a punch to the stomach or a kick in the nuts, but Spurs fans know all too well how they feel. Doesn't make it any easier when you're actually expecting it, either.

Tottenham have boasted great players. Good football. But the promise of failure has always loomed larger than the hope of success. They've employed eleven permanent managers since Arsenal appointed Arsene Wenger in 1996, and ten of them - even while some have come close to doing so - have failed to break the mould.

But there's something a little different about the latest fellow in town. That term, Spursy, is becoming redundant. And it's all his fault.

Mauricio Pochettino has taken his time to bed in at White Hart Lane, but it's been an acceptable time of adjustment for a smart, clever, young coach who knows what methods can make modern teams successful. In fact, Pochettino has already started producing a previously-alien-to-Spurs consistency. Long before he'd reached the dreaded make-or-break stage, too.

Granted, this season will go on record as the most barmy there's been in Premier League history, even if Leicester, Tottenham (or Arsenal, heh) don't end up winning it. It's been a year of the underdog, and a season to herald the arrival of a level playing field, unpredictability and flat-out excitement. There's no more 'big four' dominance anymore.

Look at the table. Tottenham are second. They're the closest to top of the tree Leicester on goal-difference from Arsenal, while previous title-favourites Manchester City trail behind. And the quartet of clubs meet this Sunday in what's promising to be another stellar day of action. Happy Valentine's Day.

For Pochettino though, regardless of the result, this season represents fantastic progress. He's built a group of players all trusting enough to buy into his ideologies, the count of dead-wood has reached minimal and it's genuinely tough to spot the bad apples on their squad list. Even Kyle Walker is playing well.

Tottenham have been let down by attitudes of individuals for as long as most of us care to remember. Pochettino appears to have changed that, and what he possesses now is a crop of English football's brightest young talents.

Harry Kane and Dele Alli are leading from the front, while Eric Dier is the shield which protects what's become the Premier League's best defence. It's the most shocking, non-Spursy thing of all to do. In fact, they've not ended a season with the league's best defence since 1959/60. Big thanks to ​Duncan Alexander for that one.

Of course, there's more to it than the English youngsters. Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are the foundations. Christian Eriksen is that x-factor, and there's others we could discuss. But they're all singing from the same hymn-sheet that Pochettino has carefully written.

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They keep the ball, press together when they don't have it, and you won't find a team fitter. The work-ethic may just be their most crucial new characteristic.

Though as it goes in the modern game, managerial success results in growing interest from elsewhere; from the "bigger" clubs whose fortunes don't quite match expectation. Manchester United and Chelsea have been talked up as primary suitors to snap up the 43-year-old's services at the end of the campaign.

But while each may boast riches Tottenham were once unable to offer, it's important, if he's left with a decision to make, that Pochettino thinks as clearly as he's become famous for. His early joy at Tottenham has bought him time with the hardest-nosed chairman in English football. The level of expectation at Tottenham is lower than elsewhere. His job is already well underway.

The role at Old Trafford represents a poisoned chalice. Perhaps even more so at Stamford Bridge. And the way it's looking, the only place Pochettino is going to find Champions League football out of the three clubs next season is at White Hart Lane.

Remember, that playing field has levelled out. The new television deal will do even more to drive that factor home. Pochettino is at the right stage of his career, at the right club, with the right squad to make a history-making difference.

He could be the next man at Chelsea, the man in the shadow at United, or THE man at Tottenham Hotspur. It doesn't even seem worth consideration.

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