Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino tells fans: Trophies don’t always bring more success so enjoy our improvement
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The 46-year-old elaborated on his thoughts that it takes a long-term process to breed a winning mentality rather than one successful domestic cup run
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes the process of improvement is “the most beautiful thing” in football and has urged supporters to enjoy the club’s steady rise rather than wishing for a domestic trophy triumph which may not bring further success.
Spurs are aiming to end a 10-year trophy drought as they prepare to visit Swansea City in Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final.
However, Pochettino has repeatedly stated that his priorities are the Premier League and Champions League, arguing that it would not transform the club if Spurs won one of the lesser competitions.
His views continue to divide opinion – lifting silverware is generally accepted to be the ultimate aim of the game, and there is a commonly-held belief that success breeds further success.
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But Pochettino is sticking to his guns and has elaborated on his thoughts.
He feels it takes a long-term process to breed a winning mentality rather than one successful domestic cup run, where luck of the draw can play a significant part.
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The Argentinian speaks from experience after lifting the Copa del Rey twice with Espanyol, stating it made no difference to him.
Spurs’ experience in 2008 would also support his view - having won the League Cup, the Lilywhites took just two points from their first eight league matches the following season.
“When you win a real tournament, when you need to play under pressure and perform at your best over 10 months, in that moment is when you start to learn about winning - what it means to be winners, what it means to be professional,” said Pochettino.
“That is one step, when you start to understand in your head. Of course that’s going to help. The culture of winning is so important - but to create that culture you need to work a lot and take many steps to arrive there.
“It’s not ‘oh I’m going to create a winning mentality and culture and in two months we’re going to start to win’. It’s not like this. With different groups, different clubs, you need different timings to arrive.
“I’m in the history of Espanyol because we won [the Copa del Rey] but I don’t feel it made a massive change. It changed nothing for me - nothing. Sometimes success doesn’t help you to be better.
“Ok, you can say it was a big issue because we won two trophies. I don’t mean that the team that wins the FA Cup or the Copa del Rey doesn’t deserve to win it, but sometimes you win because the draw is kind to you. It’s not the same as winning the Premier League.”
Even then, Pochettino has pointed out that Leicester City’s title triumph in 2015/16 proved to be a flash in the pan rather the start of a long-standing dynasty – indeed manager Claudio Ranieri was sacked nine months later.
It reinforces his view that consistent success is achieved via a more gradual climb to the top.
With this in mind, the Argentinian has encouraged Spurs’ fans to live in the present and, again, recognise the value of steady improvement.
“For me, the most important thing is the process,” he said. “Take Leicester - all that they enjoyed was the process.
“It was a fantastic story, that Leicester won the Premier League. But the moment you lift the trophy and then put it down, that disappears. You will be in the history but you cannot live in the past.
“When you win something it’s like you’ve finished an amazing job. But the process is the most beautiful thing, no? When you arrive, you arrive, but then you need to be ready for the next challenge. If not, all that happiness will transform into sadness.
“That is in society, not just football. You need to find different motivations and stimulus. I’m not saying that winning isn’t good. Everything we’re doing is to try to win. But the situation is sometimes complex to explain.”
Pochettino stated on Thursday that Tottenham are going to “deserve trophies” rather than “buy” them, adding: “It is about winning - but how is also important too.”
He does not simply want to be fortunate – one of his major issues with the FA Cup and League Cup.
“We were very lucky [when we won the Copa del Rey at Espanyol],” he said. “But you need luck. You need some luck with the draw and the form of the players you’re going to face. I don’t know if [the teams that] win the titles like the FA Cup or Capital Cup is the best team.
“To win the Premier League is different because you need to be consistent during 10 months, and the Champions League is one of the best competitions in the world.
“The Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, you not only need luck, you need to deserve to win this type of title. Then the short competitions, like the World Cup, [are different].
“Argentina, we arrived in Japan in  and I think we were first in the Fifa classifications, but we didn’t arrive in the best form and went out in the group stage. You need luck.
“It’s like in the Capital One, Copa del Rey, FA Cup. They are very short periods and sometimes it’s a coincidence. Maybe you have some players not in good form, you compete and you’re out. It’s completely different. There are competitions that if you win, fantastic, but if you don’t win, nothing changes.”
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