By Owen Parkes
A little over four years ago now, after a list of disastrous managerial appointments, Spurs appointed Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager. The appointment brought with it criticism after the sacking of Tim Sherwood who had secured a sixth place finish the previous campaign after the sacking of Andre Villas Boas, which left the club directionless and without a identity on the pitch and to an extent off it.
It is here the parallels to Everton can be noticed. Following the sackings of Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce, Everton found themselves in a bit of a rut. The club seemingly had no direction, with a reckless mix of hit and miss signings from each one of those managers leaving the club going into the summer with a massive squad and a hefty wage bill. Everton decided that the man to right these wrongs was Marco Silva.
When Everton faced Watford on Monday Night Football, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville, both agreed that ‘Marco Silva has to be Everton’s Pochettino.’ There are reasons to support this view. Both overseas managers that came in to England, to struggling clubs, with a flurry of criticism from ill-informed pundits. Both also are strong coaches who are tactically sound, and encourage expansive football.
In Pochettino’s first season at the club, it was always about progression. At the start of the 2014/15 season, Tottenham struggled for goals. Pochettino found Harry Kane. After a slow start due to a lack of goals, Spurs went on to finish 5th in the Premier League that season, having organised the shambles Sherwood, Villas-Boas and Redknapp left behind.
Pochettino has went from there. Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld were signed the following season and Spurs began to benefit from hiring Poch. Spurs chased Leicester all the way but could not quite manage the title, in fact, they did an Everton and ended up finishing below their rivals Arsenal after a last day capitulation at the hands of Newcastle.
The following season continued the positive trajectory the club was going in under the Argentine. Spurs went one better to finish second, narrowly missing out on the title to Chelsea, who were rampant but Spurs knew they were onto something under him.
He began to form a team of a core of players that he knew he could trust to dig out results in a stylish manner. Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane, Dele Alli became the focal point of Spurs’ dynamic attack that had the media running with fear that a new club, a new force was forthcoming.
Everton, like Spurs, have experienced their fair share of poor managerial appointments. You could replace Villas-Boas’ name with Koeman and Sherwood’s with Allardyce and you cam see the same problems each had in winning hearts and minds of the respective fans. Koeman, like AVB, struggled after selling a club asset for a large sum, and attempted to replace them by filing the squad. Like Spurs, Everton replaced them players with less talented players who did not ever for a system for each manager to deploy.
Again, like Villas-Boas, Koeman was sacked. The dark days of Sam Allardyce are upon us at this point. Ask any Spurs fan and they will recount the same problem with Tim Sherwood. A charlatan manager, Sherwood practically conned the Spurs supporters with cheap rhetoric, poor football and just doing enough. Sherwood went, as did Allardyce and here we are at present day with Marco Silva.
Silva has had a difficult task of going about cutting off dead wood, and establishing a style of play in a healthy league position. Silva has passed with flying colours thus far. The introduction of the Sigurdsson, Bernard and Richarlison dynamic could be something Marco Silva persists on like Pochettino did with Eriksen, Alli and Kane, though you would expect Silva to be in the search for a centre forward.
Everton welcome Spurs to Goodison this weekend in a game crucial for Spurs’ Champions League ambitions. Everton will be hoping in a few years time it will indeed be the blues chasing the Champions League also. It will take time, but Marco Silva could indeed be Everton’s Pochettino.