Match made for Pochettino
BLOSSOMING RELATIONSHIP: Harry Kane (right) was blooded by former manager Tim Sherwood, but it is under Mauricio Pochettino (above) that he has really thrived. - PHOTO: JOHN SIBLEY/ACTION IMAGES
The wheels haven't exactly fallen off at White Hart Lane, but they are getting dangerously loose.
February started auspiciously enough for Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, who began the month with a thrilling 2-1 win over arch-rivals Arsenal.
But, since then, they have not won in four matches in all competitions.
As a result, they are out of the Europa League, and have slipped to seventh in the Premiership table. Their last chance of silverware lies in the League Cup.
Beat Chelsea in the final tonight, and Spurs' season will suddenly look a lot more palatable.
Not that Pochettino has fared badly.
At the end of November last year, the 42-year-old Argentinian was facing the sack following four Premiership defeats in six home matches.
Then again, no manager's job is ever safe in that part of London.
Luckily for Pochettino, he stopped the rot. The tight race for a top-four place means his side are by no means out of the running.
The North London Derby victory three weeks ago and the emphatic win over Chelsea on New Year's Day provide proof that he can outwit the best in the business.
And he has Harry Kane, England's hottest young property at the moment.
In fact, the 21-year-old striker, with 14 league goals from 22 appearances, has been Spurs' most outstanding performer.
Chelsea should know. His double helped take the Blues down at White Hart Lane.
Pochettino believes that that win alone gives his team all the confidence they need.
Spurs remain the underdogs, Chelsea very much the favourites.
But Pochettino has been fighting against the odds ever since he took on the Spurs job.
This is one big battle he will relish.
- GARY LIM
FUN FACT: (44) Tottenham Hotspur have played 43 competitive games this season; more than any other Premier League side.