Former Tottenham star Toby Alderweireld has revealed exactly what it was like working under Mauricio Pochettino and how the Argentine reacted to the Amazon cameras being around before his exit.
Alderweireld spent six years in north London, making 236 appearances for the club but failed to win any silverware. However, Spurs got close on numerous occasions – twice challenging for the Premier League trophy, reaching two FA Cup semi-finals, one League Cup final and a Champions League final.
But the Belgian has broken down just how tough it was to play under Pochettino, albeit enjoyable all the same.
“The team was so close. You get close because the Pochettino way is not the easy way,” Alderweireld told the Evening Standard. “You work so hard every day. Days off are very, very rare.
“You get the same as the army really. You get angry but you get fitter, you get better. Train on, train off! You do it and it creates a group, like, ‘Let’s do it together’. So that was the feeling, especially in the seasons with Leicester, Chelsea, the Champions League.
“Then some players go and some players come and it needs redoing. Sometimes you need chemistry that works. I’m not saying it didn’t work but we have to be honest. The group we had then was a very special group of friendship.”
Another issue was the decision to allow Amazon Prime’s cameras into the club for the 2019-20 season, a move Pochettino was deeply uncomfortable with, according to the Standard.
“Some things should have stayed in the dressing room,” Alderweireld added. “Because not only in football, in every work environment, things happen that are only meant to stay there. After a while you didn’t think about it anymore but it didn’t make it easier.”
Alderweireld was a regular under Pochettino but there was talk that they did not always get on. The defender was thought to be one of the players Pochettino wanted out for a rebuild back in 2018.
“Poch is more clever than me,” added Alderweireld, who insists that he never wanted out that summer. “He saw things that I didn’t see. I thought we had a very good squad.
“Our relationship is very positive. I’m always very grateful that he bought me to Spurs. He was the guy who texted and called me that I had to come, he was the guy who got the best out of me, 100 per cent for sure. I was most fit under him.
“Of course in football if you work four or five days together and you’re a big personality – because I have my thoughts about football as well – you have discussions. And that’s fine.
“But I never had a problem with him. Never ever. I’m grateful because he took me two or three levels up.”
No Tottenham regrets
As for reflecting on his time in north London, the 32-year-old added: “No, no, I don’t think the club can regret anything. I think they did wonderful.
“You don’t know all the things that happen in a club. It’s not Football Manager. I know for sure that [chairman Daniel] Levy gave 100 per cent for the club.
“It’s good they’re not happy with where they are now. The structure is there to be one of the biggest clubs in the world. Maybe they need some more time. I know in football there’s no time but I don’t think the club should have done anything else.
“How many times do you see clubs invest too much and then they’re in trouble? Spurs know what it is to be healthy.
“Of course, it will always be said ‘no silverware’ and I understand that. But it’s a wonderful period in Spurs’ history. I think the fans will enjoy thinking about it.”
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