Pochettino reveals Southampton chairman told him to base team on Barca

‘He showed me a Barca video and said “that’s my philosophy, apply it!”‘: Mauricio Pochettino reveals how ex-Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese told him to base his team on Pep Guardiola’s iconic side

  • Mauricio Pochettino was asked to base his Southampton team on Barcelona 
  • Ex-Saints chairman Nicola Cortese showed him a video of Pep Guardiola’s side 
  • He implemented a new style with players like Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana 
  • The manager said their success helped change the mentality of English players

Mauricio Pochettino has recalled the moment he was asked to make his Southampton team play like Pep Guardiola’s famous Barcelona side. 

The Saints were three points outside the Premier League’s relegation zone when Pochettino took over from the sacked Nigel Adkins in January 2013. Adkins had taken the club from League One to the top flight with successive promotions and was widely loved by supporters. 

Pochettino’s managerial qualities were unproven in the English game but Southampton’s former chairman Nicola Courtese had faith the Argentine could get them playing stylish football.

Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he was asked to base his Southampton side on Barcelona

Pochettino was shown a video of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and asked to apply the philosophy

‘It was not easy because one of the first things the president told me was that he signed me because he wanted the team to play as the Dream Team,’ he told Spanish newspaper El Pais.

‘He showed us a video of that Barca. “This is my philosophy… apply it!”‘  

The 48-year-old was asked what his immediate thoughts were after hearing the chairman’s expectations.

The Argentine worked with young English players including Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw

He joked: ‘That Messi, Xavi, Iniesta had to be bought!

‘But the most beautiful thing and what remains is that with those young and English players —Clyne, Lambert, Jay Rodriguez, Prowse, Cork, Lallana, Shaw, Chambers—, we started to propose a different football. 

‘In the second season, in November, we had the possibility to put ourselves first playing against Arsenal. 

‘That attracted attention. It was not the way to press but how we played from behind, with positional attack, retrieve the ball high and attack fast. It was a change of mentality and it was seen that the English could do it.

Pochettino took the Saints to eighth in the Premier League during his first full season in charge

‘I think together with Brendan Rodgers we changed the mentality of English football a bit. And the arrival of Pep later cemented and settled everything because today, in any quarry in the world, what predominates is the capacity of that associative and positional game that has invaded world football.’ 

Pochettino led the Saints to 14th in the 2012-2013 campaign before taking them to eighth in his first full season in charge, the club’s highest league position in 11 years.

His impressive results and attractive style of football earned him the manager’s job at Tottenham in May 2014. 

The Argentine won many admirers during his four years in north London despite not getting his hands on any silverware, taking the club to their first Champions League final in 2019.

Several of the stars from his Southampton squad also departed St Mary’s with Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren joining Liverpool while Luke Shaw signed for Manchester United.

Several of the Argentine’s stars went on to sign for clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United

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