By Richard Parks
BBC pundit Martin Keown has claimed that Mauricio Pochettino is sending out the wrong message by claiming winning the FA Cup will not turn Tottenham into winners.
Pochettino claimed last week that a true winning mentality at an English club can only be secured through triumphing in the Premier League or the Champions League.
“In the cups, you can arrive to the semi-final or final, and in the end maybe, like Swansea, win some cups, or Wigan, who were then relegated,” Pochettino said. “That is not going to help create a winning mentality, to win this type of trophy.
“I don’t say they are important or not important — that is completely different. For me, when you are consistently winning in the Premier League or the best competition in the world like the Champions League, that helps you to create a winning mentality.
“Of course, I would love to win the FA Cup and it’s so important for the fans. But people believe if you win one trophy it will give the club a different status or put the club in a different level — and that is not true.”
Spurs have come under criticism for a 10-year trophy drought that includes four years under Pochettino, whose side have secured a semi-final place in this season’s FA Cup for the second consecutive season.
Match of the pundit Keown disagrees with the verdict of the Argentine.
“I understand to an extent why Pochettino is saying this,” the Arsenal legend told the Daily Mail. “It is only right that he should be striving for the ultimate accolades.
“But winning the FA Cup gives you a taste of what winning is all about. Once you have taken your first sip from that cup of success, it drives you to work for more.
“When you are league champions, it gives you a feeling of supremacy. It gives you a warm glow. Your fans remind you every week that you are the best.
“Winning a cup competition affirms that you have the ingredients to be champions. Success in the FA Cup may only be a stepping stone for Pochettino, but it is an important one.”
Football Insider verdict:
Keown is spot on. Pochettino’s stance is a controversial one and he is totally wrong. Perhaps he is trying to take the pressure off his players head of the FA Cup semi against Manchester United next month, but winning creates momentum and winning trophies get set off an unstoppable train. Wigan and Swansea are not especially relevant comparisons, as they are far smaller clubs without the history or fanbase of Tottenham, not to mention the players. Spurs have challenged for the league in recent seasons and winning the cup would be vindication of their immense progress, as well as reward for fans who have suffered for so long. It will also make the players believe they can go to the next level.
In other Tottenham news, it can be revealed that the club have ripped up the contract of a defender.