COMMENT By Richard Parks
The not-so-subtle quit threat – used on three occasions to different media platforms – was bad enough from Mauricio Pochettino but could be excused as an emotional response when he was under siege following Tottenham’s latest semi-final meltdown.
But to claim he could field a team full of kids in next season’s FA Cup to avoid criticism is embarrassing, unnecessary and out of order.
It is a disservice to the competition, the players who reached a semi-final only to lose by one goal to a Manchester United that has spent hundreds of millions more in the last season or two alone and to the fans who pay to watch.
Instead of admitting his team’s near-but-not-quite failure or calmly responding to questions about the performance of his team or his own as manager, the Spurs boss went down an altogether different track.
“I am thinking with Tottenham to play with kids the next time because it’s so unfair when you lose but that is my job to be criticised when we don’t win,” Pochettino said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“The problem is the perception sometimes is not realistic. But maybe yes, next we will provide the possibility to play with kids and I’m sure it will be fantastic for experience and everything.
“Then we stop to arrive in this situation (of being questioned about not winning trophies).”
So, Pochettino’s answer to avoid scrutiny is to threaten to leave, or to play the youth team.
The manager has been rightly praised to the skies for his overhaul of Spurs in the last four years.
He has transformed them into a vibrant and exciting side who always play on the front foot and have captivated neutrals with their eyecatching football and consistency.
They stand on the verge of a third consecutive Champions League campaign, proof of the huge improvement under the Argentine.
But, when you’re paid £5.5million-a-year, as Pochettino is, you can expect to be in the firing line now and again, especially when the team falls short.
The Spurs boss needs to have thicker skin and stop chucking his toys out of the pram.
His threats might or might not be idle ones, but they lack grace.
In other Tottenham news, it can be revealed that the club have been handed a stunning £52million windfall.