Madrid: Mauricio Pochettino may continue to be praised for his managerial style, but not yet for his titles.
Pochettino failed to win his first title as a coach on Saturday after Tottenham lost 2-0 to Liverpool in the Champions League final.
The coach credited with turning Tottenham around with his high-pressing, attacking style has gone another season without being able to lift a trophy.
As Liverpool players celebrated with the cup at midfield, Pochettino removed the second-place medal from around his neck and hurried into the changing rooms.
He stayed by the sideline for a moment after the final whistle, then embraced his assistants before going to the field to console his players and congratulate his Liverpool opponents.
“It’s so painful,” Pochettino said. “But at the same time, we need to be proud. It’s a fantastic thing to play in the final for the first time in the history of the club.”
The 47-year-old Pochettino succeeded in his task of the changing Tottenham’s mentality after arriving at the club five years ago, turning it into a perennial contender in English soccer and leading it to a remarkable run to the Champions League final.
His only other final as a coach was the English Cup final in his debut campaign with Tottenham in 2014, which he lost to Chelsea.
The club was in the title race in the Premier League the following season, eventually finishing in third place. Tottenham did even better in 2015-16, finishing runner-up, and again it was third in 2017-18.
Despite not being able to sign any players in the last two transfer windows, he led the club to another top top-four finish in the Premier League this season.
Pochettino began his coaching career with Spanish club Espanyol in 2009, helping save the team he used to play for from relegation in his first season. He left the club three years later after gaining praise for implementing his attacking style.
He joined Southampton in January 2013, and in his first full season he led the English club to an eighth-place finish, its highest league position in a decade.
That campaign helped him land the five-year deal with Tottenham, which before he arrived had only reached four second-tier European finals, most recently winning the now-defunct Uefa Cup.
“Hopefully, this is the beginning of a successful period for this club,” Pochettino said.