By 90Min
April 21, 2018

There is a stark contrast between Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. One knows how to breed a winning mentality, the other is still figuring it out.

The pair go about their business totally differently. Mourinho has become more of a chequebook manager as the years have rolled on, while Pochettino remains faithful in younger players and favours a more astute approach in the transfer market.

While the two approaches are equally respected to a certain degree, there should be no mistake as to which man is currently bettering the other with their respective club.

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After Dele Alli's opener, Mourinho watched as his two most notorious signings combined to equalise for United, as Paul Pogba outmuscled the muscly Mousa Dembele and crossed for big game player Alexis Sanchez. No mistake was made by the Chilean, burying his header.

The result was sealed by Ander Herrera's central strike which flew beyond Michel Vorm before the Dutchman could get a hand to it.

When that goal went in, few Spurs were thinking their side could still reach the FA Cup final. Instead, it was Groundhog Day, yet again.


In hindsight, it seems Tottenham's eighth consecutive FA Cup semi final defeat was ensured by Pochettino's pre-match comments.

He said"It will be fantastic for Southampton, Chelsea, Manchester United or Tottenham if we will win the FA Cup but is it going to change our lives? I don't believe so.

"We fight to win it. But it's not about need or don't need. It would be a fantastic way to finish the season but it's not about who needs it more. It would be fantastic to have the trophy but it's not about need or don't need."

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Let's be clear about something; Tottenham have no divine right to win any competition, nor should they be looking down on or smirking at the opportunity to claim some long overdue silverware.

Pochettino needs to swap his ambitious outlook for something a little more realistic. With Pep Guardiola's sparkling Manchester City set to dominate the Premier League for years to come, are Tottenham going to be England's best team any time soon? No.

With European giants Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid leading the way on the continent, are Spurs going to be competing in any Champions League finals in the next year or so?

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No, of course not. Then why are such unrealistic targets being set? Yes, it is good to be ambitious, but winning an FA or League Cup is a proven springboard for teams to go on to bigger and better things. Just ask Mourinho.

The former Real Madrid and Porto manager has won the League Cup four times, the first coming in 2005 before Chelsea wrapped up the Premier League title later that year. The win gave his side the belief that they were indeed the best team in the land and saw them home with just one defeat from 38 league games.

And do you think Guardiola shrugged his shoulders when City won the Carabao Cup earlier this season? The trophy was the Catalonian's first piece of silverware in England and his players were given the ultimate boost for a tricky second half of the campaign.

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Currently, Tottenham still lack that self-belief that they can be the best team in England. Just when we thought the label 'Spursy', in other words losing from a position of strength, underperforming when it matters most or simply bottling it, it has come back, fiercer and with more relevance than ever.

The trophy draught will continue for Spurs, who are without a major success since winning the 2008 League Cup, while Jose Mourinho will likely end the season with a third proper cup in two seasons.

For all Harry Kane's goals, Dele Alli's flicks and Jan Vertonghen's exquisite defending, as long as Pochettino turns his nose up at the so-called minor cups, Tottenham will remain trophy-less. 

It's a big summer ahead for Pochettino, who must either convince Daniel Levy to sign some genuine world class talent, or contemplate another year filled with 'nearly' moments for his exciting, talented but ultimately flawed Tottenham side.

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