How Pochettino has given Spurs confidence

TRAINING METHODS

Many players baulked when Pochettino began his reign by introducing triple training sessions, but this may have been a clever tactic, as they have since accepted double sessions without complaint.

He still pushes his players hard, with GPS gadgets mandatory in training to monitor their every movement and all sessions being conducted at match-day pace.

Many of the squad have individually tailored programmes, however.

Pochettino is also conscious of the need to promote injury prevention.

PLAYING STYLE

Pochettino has continued to use the high-pressing system that proved so effective for him at Southampton. Much of their work in training has focused on tackling techniques with the aim of winning the ball back high up the pitch, and Pochettino instructing his men to regain possession within three seconds of losing it.

DEFENSIVE STRENGTH

After initially struggling to develop a consistent back four last season, Pochettino made that area of the side a priority last summer, which has been successful to date.

Kyle Walker, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have started every Premier League match, with Hugo Lloris missing one, and this close-knit group have helped to ensure that Spurs have conceded only nine goals.

Pochettino's decision to move Eric Dier into a holding midfielder has also paid off.

FAITH IN FLAIR

Pochettino has also backed his creative players, with Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela both being given the most game time they have enjoyed since signing for the London club.

Crucially, they have also largely been deployed in the same position - alongside Dier in a deeper midfield role and wide on the right respectively - after years of being messed about.

Beyond that pair, Pochettino has also been consistent in team selection.

SELF-BELIEF

Pochettino has never been short of confidence and has been careful to avoid setting prescriptive limits for a young squad he believes can improve significantly.

Given that Arsenal have also been consistent in the Premier League, finishing above their rivals for the first time since 1995 seems a tall order, but Pochettino has not ruled out a shock title challenge.

"We want to be top of the table and it is impossible to set the limit," he said on Friday. "Why should we?"

For all Spurs' undoubted improvements, a top-four finish seems more realistic, and in keeping with the manager's evolutionary approach.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2015, with the headline 'How Pochettino has given Spurs confidence'. Print Edition | Subscribe