Inside story of how Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy’s relationship broke down at Tottenham – Darren Lewis

By the end they were barely speaking.

After Madrid, those title challenges, that Champions League Final place the stuff of fantasy before his arrival and all those top four finishes, the relationship between Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy had collapsed.

The Spurs chairman had grown tired of the Argentine eyeing up an exit strategy.

Pochettino was unhappy at being blamed for the malaise he felt had begun when the club failed to complete their overhaul during the summer.



For so long they were on the same page – but not at the end

The bottom line now is that sacking the man that took Spurs into the big time is a monster gamble from Levy and Spurs owner Joe Lewis.

In his five years there Pochettino took a club in the shadow of Arsenal and ensured they routinely finished above their north London rivals.

Pochettino took a Europa League outfit used to having their noses pressed against the Champions League glass and had them feasting at the top table of the elite competition.



That night in Amsterdam

Pochettino opened up a pathway from the Spurs academy to the first team, enabling the likes of Oliver Skipp and Harry Winks to follow Harry Kane as some of their own.

Exciting young defender Japhet Tanganga and talented striker Troy Parrott were next off the conveyor belt.

Pochettino had a club used to surrendering the points at Chelsea and Manchester United actually going there and upsetting the odds.

Yes, Spurs have had a disappointing start to the season with just three wins from their first twelve games. But there are just three points between fourteenth were they sit and Sheffield United in fifth.



It’s been a poor start to the season for Eriksen and co.

Yes, he may now regret suggesting back in May that he could quit if the club had won the Champions League. If his commitment was wavering how could he expect it from his players?

But did a man who reached the Champions League Final without a single signing in the transfer market last season, really deserve to be thrown overboard with so much that could still be salvaged from Tottenham’s season?

Did a man who shrugged off a season playing away from home to get Spurs back into the top four really deserve to be denied the chance to oversee a rebuild?



Spurs are still en route to the Champions League knockout rounds again

To understand Pochettino’s impact you have to empathize with the Spurs fans that lived through the chaotic years of Tim Sherwood, Andre Villas Boas and Juande Ramos for whom the 2008 League Cup meant little as their form melted away.

Last year Pochettino made it clear to the Spurs chairman that he could only continue pulling rabbits out of the hat for so long.

Last season he whipped out a few more on the way to Madrid and to keep the club in the top four last season.

Levy may have broken the transfer record to land Tanguy Ndombele with Gio Lo Celso set to cost a further £34million more should be prove a success this season.



Pochettino had to battle to land the likes of Ndombele and Lo Celso

But more needed to be done to move on the players no longer committed to club.

What was Christian Eriksen still doing in his squad, for example, when he’d made it clear at the end of last season that he wanted to play for Real Madrid?

Why were Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen still there when both men had made it clear that they had no intention of signing a new deal with less than a year left?



Should Alderweireld still be at the club?

Levy might argue that those players no longer were no longer inspired by Pochettino.

That the man who could previously do no wrong had lost his magic touch in the dressing room.

That belief could come back to haunt him with Pochettino’s stock still ridiculously high across Europe.

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His availability now leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with no room for manouvre.

Bayern Munich, with Pep Guadiola determined to stay at Manchester City, could yet come knocking.

There is no guarantee that the next man at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will have anything like the same connection with the club’s fans.

Pochettino leaves as the man responsible for the biggest impact on the club in the modern era. Levy, Lewis and the board must now pray that the decision does not blow up in their faces.

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