Just after Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham lost the League Cup final to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, one Spurs player, unhappy with the new regime and the changes being introduced, began singing, just a few inches away from the face of Pochettino's assistant Jesus Perez, the name of the Portuguese coach. The dressing room Pochettino encountered at Tottenham, as can be seen, was very special. He knew from the first moment he would have to intervene so that his methodology (based on team spirit, the constant demonstration of energy and tactical flexibility) could succeed.
There was one player that didn't train on Mondays... But with the backing of the president, Daniel Levy, Pochettino brought an end to all of that and established his own way of doing things, through hard work and enjoyment. The respect was earned, it wasn't gifted, and the defeats were new lessons which could be learned from. Pochettino changed the dynamic at Spurs, as he had done at Espanyol and Southampton. And he did so through everything said until now, but also on the most basic premise, which is also the most essential. He looks for the kid inside the footballer, inside the professional, that was given a football once and never left it alone, that infant that we all have inside but which can become lost in the professional world.
If the player can offer that amateur spirit, Pochettino can take them to places they never expected: he can ask for more passion from that kid to train harder; with infantile eyes, where everything is new, the desire to learn accelerates the development. That is, more or less, the trick that has worked wherever Pochettino has rocked up. Another issue is that the urgent decisions facing Barça and the renewal of their squad -- including the appointment of a new coach -- must be made by the club, not by a recent arrival on the Camp Nou bench.
There's hardly even been a football debate about the possibility of Pochettino taking over at Barça. Of the little that has been said is that he doesn't have Barça DNA, that thing that is so ethereal that no one knows how to define it or describes it according to the moment. His style of play is more based on what he has than the opposition and his players are as capable as maintaining the ball as they are at countering.
Modern football, even with Pep Guardiola, is based on creating big spaces in place of reduced spaces and that's achieved through energy and speed (both in the legs and the head). Pochettino's teams have always had that. The coach's camp deny that he dined with Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently, but it's obvious that Bartomeu has thought about him. Pochettino said 'no' to Barça in January and 10 months earlier DanieL Levy didn't want to negotiate with Real Madrid, who lined him up.
He's been on the list of candidates for Bayern Munich, Juventus, Inter, Manchester United... so it would be strange if Barcelona had not thought about him -- and that he would not consider it an attractive challenge professionally. Football is a context of emotions and the crisis Barça are submerged in is a never-ending well of negativity that impedes a reflection beyond who the next coach is. For example: where should the style go and what should the importance of the style be? What is Barça DNA? Who best represents it? Where's football going?
The courage to suggest that other neighborhoods may also find leaders in the same way belongs to another era.