With Tottenham Hotspur’s search for a new manager still ongoing, former boss Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with a sensational return to the club.
Widespread reports on Monday evening suggested that current Paris Saint-Germain manager Pochettino, who was sacked by Spurs in November 2019, is now considering a return to the club despite only taking over at Parc des Princes at the start of 2021.
The Argentine manager failed to win Ligue 1 with PSG in 2020/21, with LOSC Lille sealing a shock title win on the final day, but the Parisian side did win the Coupe de France, following their 2-0 win over AS Monaco.
Following the speculation from earlier in the week, football.london understands that Tottenham Hotspur have held talks with Pochettino over a return to the club and the 49-year-old would be interested in coming back to N17.
This got us thinking, how would Spurs get on next season if Pochettino made a sensational return as manager?
To find out, we simulated the 2021/22 season on Football Manager 2021 to see what could happen if Pochettino did return to Spurs next season.
Tottenham’s 2021/22 season if Pochettino returns as manager
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2021 editor to arrange for PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino to return as Spurs manager on May 31, 2021 and then used Football Manager 2021 to run our simulation.
The Football Manager database currently contains data on more than 800,000 individuals and 45,000 active clubs.
Data is sourced from their international on the ground scouting network which numbers roughly 1,000 people, among their ranks are some who are involved in football in professional capacities, including scouts and coaches.
Before we get into the simulation, let’s look at the transfer business that was done at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the summer of 2021, with Pochettino returning to the club.
Spurs spent a total of £67 million on four players, with midfielder Fredrik Midtsjo arriving from AZ Alkmaar, Sandro Tonali arriving from Brescia, winger Malcom arriving from Zenit and right-back Sime Vrsaljko arriving from Atletico Madrid.
There was also four key departures, with Moussa Sissoko, Serge Aurier, Danny Rose and Joe Rodon (loan) all leaving the club.
So how did the season play out? Let’s take a look.
Pochettino used a tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation for the majority of the campaign, with Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane the players that he based his team around.
And it was no surprise that these three players led the way in terms of goals and assists, with all three having strong campaigns.
The Argentine’s return also led to a change in Spurs’ style of play, with Pochettino’s side having a lot of the ball and being a positive, on the front foot team.
As a result, Spurs ranked highly against the rest of the Premier League in terms of goals scored and average possession.
In fact, only Manchester United and Man City scored more than Pochettino’s Spurs in 2021/22, with only Liverpool and Man City averaging more possession.
However, Spurs also conceded more goals than eight other teams, including Everton, Burnley and Chelsea.
At the end of every season, FM21 work out the best 11 of every team, based on a number of key metrics.
This is how Spurs’ best performing XI, as decided by Football Manager 2021, looked at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Full Spurs best XI: Lloris; Vrsaljko, Dier, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Tonali, Ndombele; Malcom, Alli, Son; Kane.
New signings Vrsaljko, Tonaki and Malcom all had great seasons under Pochettino, with players like Juan Foyth, Ryan Sessegnon and Oliver Skipp also seeing game time.
So, how did Spurs actually perform in the Premier League with Pochettino returning as manager?
Here is how the final 2021/22 Premier League table looked in our simulated season.
Despite Spurs having an improved campaign in which they won 70 points, eight more than in the 2020/21 campaign, Tottenham missed out on the top four by just two points.
Chelsea finished just above Spurs, after some big spending, with Manchester United, Man City and Liverpool completing the top four.
But although Spurs had a decent league campaign, they were terrible in the domestic cup competitions.
Spurs were defeated by 10-man Wolves in the FA Cup, followed by a defeat to Blackpool in the Carabao Cup.
Overall, this simulation suggests that Pochettino’s arrival would see Spurs become a more exciting, possession-based side, which would improve both their league position and points tally.
However, this simulation also suggests that Pochettino’s arrival may not guarantee an immediate return to the top four, and will in no way guarantee a summer of big spending in the transfer window.
As always, this is just a bit of fun, but it’s interesting to see what kind of impact FM21 suggests Pochettino could have at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next season if he was to return as manager.
Would you be happy to see Pochettino return as Spurs manager? Let us know in the comments.
Football Manager (FM) is the world’s leading football management simulation title. The latest edition of the game, FM21, is out now on PC, Mac, Mobile, Touch and Xbox.
Source by Football London