By 90Min
March 20, 2018

The assertion that Tottenham must win a trophy, that they need silverware to merit any true praise for their progression of recent years, is tiresome and reductive. They do not need to win a trophy; Mauricio Pochettino's work will not be undone if they fail to lift the FA Cup in May.

Yet still the narrative persists. What is the purpose of the Pochettino project if there is nothing tangible to show for it? How can such persistent praise of this team be justified if they remain trophy-less?

It is an indication of an obsession with winning trophies above all else. Nothing else - in the eyes of some - matters. Spurs' development and unquestionable progression, to the point of almost knocking an imposing, domestically dominant Juventus side out of the Champions League, is considered in itself not worthy of admiration.

Instead, they have garnered a reputation as bottlers. Perhaps this is as a result of a modern, online footballing phenomenon: a culture of 'banter' on social media. Fans indulge in schadenfreude and gleefully mock their rivals in defeat. Spurs, inevitably, have become a victim of this.

Maybe all of this would change if they win the FA Cup. Maybe it would stop the seemingly endless, and increasingly cliched, comments from thoughtless pundits. 

Pochettino has himself looked to lessen the attention on silverware. He has been accused of neglecting the cup competitions but to him, perhaps justifiably, they are not of great importance.

"I'm not obsessing: win, win, win, win!" said the Argentine coach in February. "Of course, we want to win but to arrive to win we need to create a winning mentality around the players, around the team. 

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

"For that, you need time. You never know if it's one year, two year, five years. I only know we're in a good way, waiting for the stadium. It'll be amazing for us, for the fans, for the club, for everything. That will give us the facilities to work. Tottenham in the next few years will be one of the contenders to win trophies."

This is the salient point. There is not, as one might assume from the general mood, a ticking time bomb, ready to explode and take with it Spurs' hopes of a trophy. Those that say Tottenham need to win something give off the impression that time is running out. They must get one soon or... or what? Under Pochettino, they have only moved forwards with each season, and there are few signs that that will not continue to be the case.

Winning the FA Cup this season, then, is not imperative. Arsenal have enjoyed success in the competition - winners in three of the last four seasons - but have regressed and find themselves glancing enviously towards Spurs' young and ambitious squad, headed by an innovative, sought after coach.

Winning the FA Cup, though, might represent something else for Spurs, something more important than the symbolism of ending a decade-long trophy draught. For this team, it could prove a significant psychological boost, evidence that they can in fact overcome the final hurdle. 


There is still a suggestion that, when it comes to the decisive, key games, an uncertainty and lack of belief plagues Tottenham. They have proven on countless occasions that they are a very good team; that is not in doubt. What has been doubted is their mental strength, their capacity to perform at the top of their game in the latter stages of knockout competitions.

If nothing else, an FA Cup success might provide some welcome relief. Those associated with the club are likely as sick as anyone else at the incessant discussion over their need to win, win, win, win, as Pochettino might put it.

Football is dominated by short-termism, so defeat against Manchester United in the semi-final would bring with it a wave of the same questions. More doubts would appear. The pressure, albeit entirely unnecessary, might build. No-one will be thinking of five years down the line, of a more settled, more experienced Tottenham team, perhaps with Pochettino still at the helm.

And that is why winning the FA Cup this season, for all its insignificance in the grand scheme of things, might represent a significant step forward for this youthful Spurs team.

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