Mauricio Pochettino is one of the world’s most highly regarded and in-demand football managers. However, since parting ways with Paris St Germain in the summer of 2022, the Argentine has been out of work. Not for lack of offers, but it would appear Pochettino has been willing to wait until the right job comes along.
It would seem like that time is now, with Pochettino expected to be imminently confirmed as the next permanent manager of Chelsea, after what has been a tumultuous season for the London club. It’s not Pochettino’s first time in the UK capital, he managed Tottenham from 2014 – 2019. Let’s take a look back at Pochettino’s tenure at Spurs and discuss whether he might bring some of his tried and tested methods to Chelsea.
Pushing Players to the Limit
Pochettino’s time at Tottenham was a success. He took the club to a League Cup final and finished fifth in the league in his first season and was instrumental in bringing through the now-global talent, Harry Kane.
In the 2016-2017 season, he led Tottenham to a second-place finish, which marked the club’s best domestic performance in over 50 years. The following year, Pochettino took Spurs to their first-ever Champions League final, where they lost out in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool.
The key to Pochettino’s success and the reason he had so many Spurs fans clamoring for Tottenham e ticketing was the commitment and physical dedication he expected from his players. In particular, he utilized a special method designed to push players to the very limit of their endurance. Working with Pochettino, Tottenham were in a much better place than they are currently.
The Gacon Test
A training technique that has quickly become synonymous with Pochettino’s name is the Gacon test. It is similar to the famous Bleep test, but even more grueling, and has proved to be one of Pochettino’s most valuable tools as he demands the most from players wherever he is.
In the Gacon test, players must run 150m in 45 seconds, before being allowed a 15-second rest. For each subsequent run, 6.25 meters is added to the total distance. This increases the intensity as time goes on and makes for an extremely demanding routine that tests players' endurance and stamina.
Will Pochettino Bring This Technique to Chelsea?
If, as many expect he will be, Pochettino is confirmed as the next Chelsea manager, he’ll have his work cut out for him. The London club has been in freefall; despite spending upwards of £500 million on players this season, they find themselves languishing in 12th place, with just 43 points from 36 games played.
Despite their less-than-stellar results of late, the Chelsea team is packed with talent, including Kai Havertz, Joao Felix, and World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez. While this season is a lost cause, a manager of Pochettino’s caliber is undoubtedly capable of turning things around for next year, and his Gacon test technique will undoubtedly be implemented to put these Chelsea players through their places and return this proud club to where it belongs at the top of the Premier League table.
- Gacon Test — an intermittent test with 45 seconds of running and 15 seconds rest, with the running distance incrementally increasing.
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