The truth can sometimes hurt and Mauricio Pochettino has certainly delivered it to Newcastle fans ahead of Wednesday night’s match.
For me, the Tottenham boss is one of the good guys, like all of them he has the ability to annoy at times, but overall I think he comes over really well and his teams play good football.
So when he delivered his straight talking today, it wasn’t with any malice intended.
Mauricio Pochettino declaring: ‘Newcastle of course is a big club…was a big club, yes, big names, yes, but the reality today is that it’s not.’
Rather than intending to wind up Newcastle fans, the Spurs manager was instead going out of his way to praise the job Rafa Benitez has done, stating ‘The reality, with the context, is that Rafa is doing a fantastic job and to be safe before the last few games of the season – for me that is a massive success for them.’
It is still gutting to be patronised [unintentionally] by somebody from Spurs.
This is our current reality though, thanks to one man, ironically – alleged Tottenham fan, Mike Ashley.
In the 14 seasons before Ashley bought Newcastle, Tottenham finished higher in the league on only five occasions. In those five seasons they finished higher, Spurs were 11th, 10th, 9th, 5th and 5th in the Premier League.
Whilst Tottenham didn’t have a single top four finish in those 14 years, Newcastle had five of them, including being runners up twice and third place on two occasions.
The majority of seasons saw Newcastle in Europe whilst Tottenham fans watched on enviously, including adventures in the Champions League.
Whilst Tottenham are set to move into a new state of the art stadium holding around 62,000, Mike Ashley himself is developing on land opposite the Gallowgate End which all but guarantees that St James Park can’t be expanded any time in the foreseeable future.
A whole generation of Newcastle fans are now being brought up in a Mike Ashley era where surviving in the Premier League is the only aim.
Massive changes are needed at Newcastle United and not just in terms of spending money in the transfer market, they will never happen whilst Ashley remains at the club.
“Newcastle have had a fantastic season.
“Rafa is doing a fantastic job, with all the circumstances.
“When we assess another team, we need to assess them with reality.
“Newcastle, of course is a big club…was a big club, yes, big names, yes, but the reality today is that it’s not.
“To see the past and say: ‘Ok because Newcastle won some titles, now Newcastle must win’, is wrong.
“The reality, with the context, is that Rafa is doing a fantastic job and to be safe before the last few games of the season – for me that is a massive success for them.
“What we missed against West Bromwich was being more clinical in front of goal because we had chances.
“We dominated the game, I think 80% of possession but If you’re not aggressive then that is [worth] nothing.
“That is the most important, to keep pushing for 90 minutes, try to score – the team lacked that aggression from the first ball, to say we’re going to win. And
“West Bromwich had the belief it was still possible before the game, they were deeper and tried to play counterattack.
“We relaxed, thought we would dominate the game and score.
“But as the game went on, it was difficult, and of course every team can concede from set pieces.
“It was cruel because it was the last act, that was a little but unfair, but football sometimes is unfair.
“We need to now show the passion and right attitude…
“I don’t care if it’s Newcastle, or Leicester, or West Bromwich, we need to focus, we need to try to win, try to be in the Champions League next season.”