24th November 2019 at 4:57 pm #53968
The conversations on the Maureen out thread got me thinking about Poch’s time at Spurs a little more deeply than I have previously. I always held the opinion that he was untouchable as manager of Spurs, but that was mainly informed by my patronising perspective of Spurs, I mean who could do better with that lot right? They would be crazy to sack him wouldn’t they?
Well since he has been sacked I have started to look at things a little more objectively and I am coming to the conclusion that Pochettino is simply a decent manager, because all the research I do into Spurs pre Poch and spurs post Poch simply flies right in the face of any ideas that he is a great or special coach. I don’t mean this to belittle Poch or Spurs fans, being a decent premier league coach is not an insult by any stretch when you understand the context here.
To start with, I looked at the results achieved by Poch in his 202 PL games and compared to the results Spurs achieved in the 202 games prior to Poch:
Spurs in prem under Pochettino:P-202-W-113-D-43-L-46-POINTS-382
Spurs in prem before poch (prev 202 games):P-202-W-106-D-47-L-48-POINTS-365
These results do not for one minute suggest Pochettino did an extraordinary job at spurs. All they show is an increase of 17 points over a massive 202 games, which in terms of points per game translates to an increase from the 1.81 averaged over the 202 games prior to Poch to 1.89 in the 202 games under Poch. That is an increase but enough to be considered one of the worlds great coaches? I don’t think so.
Compare this to the difference in results at pool Pre Klopp vs With Klopp:
Pool with Klopp in Prem league : P157-W98-D39-L20-POINTS-333
Pool for the 157 before Klopp : P157-W75-D39-L43-POINTS-264
So Klopp achieved a much greater gain in points over a considerably shorter period, 69 over just 157 games. This translates to an increase in points per game from 1.68 pre-Klopp to 2.12 with Klopp. This is much more like it and is a level of improvement that really does justify Klopp being considered one of the best.
I will understand some may argue here that Klopp has spent more, but spending is only useful as a way of comparing relative squad strengths so we can determine relative expectations. Truth is spurs didn’t need the level of investment Pool did. Poch had a lot to do with it but if you compare the squad Poch had at the time to the Pool team Klopp inherited it was obvious pool would need investment to come close to spurs and I would also argue that up until the summer of 2018 spurs had the better squad, even now I think pools is only marginally better.
So if Poch didn’t do much better in PL than Spurs were already doing in terms of points, what else could there be to give him special credit for?
To this question I am sure some of you will say “Pochettino turned Spurs into a regular top 4 team without spending as much as his rivals”
This is the argument that always won me over, but after looking in to things I have changed my mind on this, and I will explain.
Firstly we need to remember that money spent is not the main thing to consider, it is the strength of the squad Poch has relative to his rivals, that’s what determines whether he has punched above his weight to a considerable degree. I would argue without hesitation that Poch has had a better squad than Utd and Arsenal for years, and if you take them away from the remaining top 4 rivals, the only teams left are City, Pool and Chelsea. 3 teams. Is it then that amazing to think that Poch finished top 4 regularly with at least the 4th best squad?
Consider the 1.81 points per game pre Poch to the 1.89 post Poch, intuitively you can see how spurs managed to finish top 4 regularly with only a slight improvement in the league, it is because the competition got weaker relative to Spurs during Poch’s tenure compared to the 5 years prior.
The stats suggest this, which is why I am now thinking like this. I looked at the points totals achieved by all the main top 4 rivals over the last 5 and a bit seasons up until poch was sacked and compared them to the results of the same teams over the 5 previous seasons when Spurs were not regularly qualifying for Champs league.
The stats in this regard are not overwhelming either.
For the 5 years before Poch they struggled to achieve Top 4 despite averaging 1.8 points per game. This was because during that period four of the other big 6 were outperforming them, and to be fair quite rightly too as City, Arsenal, Utd and Chelsea had better squads. This made it almost impossible for Spurs to finish 4th as there were always 4 teams better placed.
However, when you look at the period when Poch was in charge you see that Arsenal and Utd regressed massively to where they were pre Poch, Chelsea dropped too, but the drop is only minimal because the bad season are counter balanced by the title wins. This meant that with only a slight increase in points per game, spurs were now odds on for top 4 as while Liverpool overtook them, Arsenal and Utd moved backwards really fast and Chelsea had some terrible seasons too.
It seems clear to me that Spurs progress to regular CL qualification was more to do with their rivals dropping to their level, than spurs punching above their weight and rising up considerably themselves. If you have a look at the attached spreadsheet you can see how the challenge for Spurs to finish top 4 was easier for Poch than his predecessors.
He is no doubt a good coach, don’t get me wrong, but there are levels, and then there are levels. He is not in the elite category yet imo.24th November 2019 at 5:06 pm #5397424th November 2019 at 5:51 pm #53991MikusParticipant192 pts
Yeh it’s a good point Lucky about putting things into context regarding the competition. I’ve never really rated him hugely myself. And one thing that really wound me up about him was that in post match interviews, if it was a poor result, I’d sometimes hear him simply say “this is football”, as though life’s a lottery and that was an acceptable excuse. I know we hear other managers say it, but it really gets on my wick. Imagine if in another profession your boss asked why you weren’t getting the results needed and you just shrugged your shoulders and said “this is life”. I think your boss would be making you a bit less employed. But managers seem to get away with saying these things. It’s like the “it was just one of those days” excuse. Sure one player can have an off day, but all 11?24th November 2019 at 6:31 pm #54025newbalanceSpectator190 pts
I think the term (if used) Legacy comes from him making progress at the club albeit silverware won and being Spurs’ longest serving manager.24th November 2019 at 6:41 pm #54027nine nine nineModerator808 pts
I think Spurs under Poch should have won a trophy and I do question his attitude to the domestic Cups. But equally I think Poch has been let down by Levy and had Levy freed up the purse strings a bit Poch might well have won a trophy or two.
He’s a good Coach though and will pop up in a good job somewhere else. Arsenal would be best!😊24th November 2019 at 6:51 pm #54028
Mikus, the more I think about it the more it makes sense, under Poch spurs have played some great football but always come short, even when their only obstacle was Leicester, and really its just a continuation of what they were pre-Poch because thats exactly how I have always seen Spurs, capable of playing great stuff, but always bottle it in the end. What has changed like I showed above, is that a few of the teams that would usually have finished below them have regressed really badly. Poch had an easier task finishing top 4 in his era with his spurs squad than Redknapp or Villas Boas did, they had to contend with Chelsea, Arsenal, United and City who were all superior teams, now only Pool and City have superior squads, maybe Chelsea too, but even if you include them thats only three teams compared to the 4/5 teams the other spurs managers have had to contend with.
Totally agree with Nine, Poch is a good manager, but unlike Pep, Klopp or indeed Jose, he is not special, not yet….24th November 2019 at 6:58 pm #54030
Nil, Poch surely has a legacy mate, but regards the progress you refer to, the point of my post can be summed up from my last paragraph:
It seems clear to me that Spurs progress to regular CL qualification was more to do with their rivals dropping to their level, than spurs punching above their weight and rising up considerably themselves.
I am arguing that we have overestimated the progress he has actually made because the stats that matter the most suggest that we have.24th November 2019 at 7:05 pm #54032
Completely agree Lucky and it feels like I’ve been saying much the same thing for a while on here now and few have supported that view.
I was one of the few who didn’t want Poch when it came to replacing Mourinho. “Imagine what he could do with a bigger budget though!” was often the go-to reply to my ramblings about Poch’s deficiencies. There seems to be a common way of thinking that a manager who arguably overachieves on a modest budget will always do so even on a much bigger budget. It’s very rarely the case.
Couldn’t agree more about your argument whether his achievements are actually all they’re cracked up to be when, rather than spend, squad strength is taken as the barometer.
He’ll continue to have a decent managerial career but, like you, I’ve never bought into the argument that his achievements put him amongst the elite.24th November 2019 at 7:12 pm #54034
LD.. problem with stats is they can be argued against. Were would the stats be if you removed the 25 points from the last 24 games (hence the reason why he lost his job?) or if you removed that first season with the likes of Capoue and Kaboul in the squad? They would look a lot different I feel!24th November 2019 at 7:14 pm #54035
My fear is that Utd will go for him when Ole’s time inevitably comes to an end. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Ferguson rates him extremely highly.24th November 2019 at 7:15 pm #54036
Ed, I remember you making those arguments, I would have disagreed at the time, I was under the spell and didnt buy it at all. Its only after Levy sacked him that I actually tried looking at it objectively, and you were spot on mate. I thought you were bloody Loopy talking about Jose as possible spurs manager too but again you called it.24th November 2019 at 7:21 pm #54037
Chucky, of course if you remove the worst statistics, or edit out the best, then the averages would be a lot different, but why would you do that and what is your point?
The best set of statistics to use is Poch’s entire PL record with spurs, I havent just arbitrarily selected a subset of games to suit my argument, the statistics are based on every PL game spurs played under Pochettino, and, given the discussion is Poch’s achievements with Spurs, why shouldnt they be?24th November 2019 at 7:26 pm #5404124th November 2019 at 8:01 pm #54059nine nine nineModerator808 pts
Chucky, take out the poor run in 2015/16 and Spurs are PL Champions if only football was like that.😊24th November 2019 at 8:01 pm #54060
Ahh… but when you’re comparing them to Kloop’s stats (who very obviously hasn’t a run of games so poor not only do they distort the numbers, but he hasn’t also lost his job!) then it is relevant. Also, comparing the differences in a different number of different games for different clubs (which would also span different eras) isn’t being fair to either manager (Kloop or Poncho!).
Unfortunately LD, you’re argument is coming across as somebody who has a point they want to prove and has found a statistical argument to prove that point. From a purely mathematical point of view, you first need to figure out the “point” you are trying to make (which in this case is a statistical analysis of the difference in points, or “New Manager Bounce”), then create an accurate formula/equation calculate this, then apply it to the data available…
So, in summary, to have to any chance of accuracy, you either need to limit the stats to 157 games before and after both managers took over their respective clubs, or wait until (if/when, who knows!) Kloop screws up to the point where he gets fired for a run of shitty results! 🙂24th November 2019 at 8:24 pm #54078
Really enjoy this style of lengthy, well-researched post so I decided to make it an article. Would be great to get more of these up as they make for great sharing material which hopefully attracts more posters24th November 2019 at 8:38 pm #54088
Chucky, your basically arguing that its unfair to judge manager X or team X against Poch unless manager X or Team X has had a terrible run of results? Thats absurd cyber chum, its the relative results I am comparing here, you are missing the point. Also, I am comparing and contrasting the performances of all the clubs over the period Poch was at spurs (5 seasons and 12 games) to the performances to all the clubs the 5 seasons prior.
If you take spurs results out of it, and just look at the performances of the other clubs in each period (when poch was at spurs and the 5 seasons before) you get a decent measure of the obstacles spurs were up against to finish top 4. Look at the table, before Poch was at spurs, City, Chelsea, Utd and Arsenal were all much better than them so finishing top 4 was almost impossible, hence they rarely did. Now, continuing to ignore spurs results, in the period poch was at spurs, both Arsenal and Utd really dropped off and were not the teams they were prior to Poch’s arrival, this meant there were at most 3 teams better placed than Spurs and so finishing 4th could not be seen as an over achievement.
You are also overthinking it talking about making formulas mate, how do we decide who is champion? By doing a course in calculus? No, its by the number of points achieved, thats how we seperate our teams, so working directly with points totals is as pure and objective as you can get, and dividing by number of games over an appropriate set of games to get stats that are more easily comparable is harmless too.
I was curious to inform my opinion with this exercise not prove a pre-determined point mate, you really have my intention here all wrong. I never saw the sacking coming and wanted to see if there was some good reasoning behind it, turns out there is, but I would have been defending Poch right now if the stats backed him up mate.24th November 2019 at 8:38 pm #54090
Glad you appreciated it Ed. Cheers fella.24th November 2019 at 9:03 pm #54105
And I think you’re missing my point too cyber chum!! You’re correlating multiple data streams and using them as a comparison. Why compare the 157 pre-Kloop games at Liverpool with the 202 pre-Poncho games at Spurs?? Two completely different sets of data. Why should either manager have their statistics skewed by what happened at a club the other manager had nothing to do with? You’re in effect saying Poncho is an average manager because Roy Hodgson had a very shitty season a year before Kloop took over… which is unfair on both Poncho and Kloop!!
And yes, comparing Poncho’s entire career at the Spuds, including the run of poor results that ultimately got him fired with a manager who is riding high, has yet to complete his career with the club, and hasn’t had that poor run of results which has resulted in him losing his job is incorrect. You’ve basically included in the beginning, middle and end of Ponchos’ time at the Spuds, and compared it with the only the beginning and middle of Kloop’s career at Liverpool. Again, two different and non-compatible data sets.
Like I said earlier, if you’re going to use statistical data to compare to separate careers, you need to use two matching sets of data footprints to do so. 🙂24th November 2019 at 9:10 pm #54109
Why should either manager have their statistics skewed by what happened at a club the other manager had nothing to do with?
You make some good points Chucky but I don’t see the issue at all with your point above. LD is trying to judge how far each manager has taken the club on from the previous manager. How else could improvement be measured if the spell prior to a manager’s own spell isn’t brought into the equation?
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