People who criticise Mauricio Pochettino are cretins

Spurs 3 Dortmund 0

Dortmund 0 Spurs 1


The German league leaders play nice football.

But it’s all a bit too polite for me.

It’s tidy and intelligent, they work it wide, support the ball well, create openings and employ quick sharpshooters.

Alcacer hit the bar in 16 but was just offside.

Dortmund’s football is never stupid but it does become a bit samey. When Son played for Hamburg and Leverkusen he scored nine goals against them but when he got a chance last night he fired it wide.

And Spurs were giving the ball away too much.

But Jan Vertonghen produced a tremendous match-saving tackle in the first half and Hugo Lloris made four good saves.

The second half started and a Dortmund defender made a challenge in front of the box.

The ball spilled forward towards the centre circle and Sissoko measured a pass that rolled beautifully alongside England’s most reliable centre forward, who did not need to take a touch. He just had to decide where to aim his shot.

Sissoko’s pass had almost stopped on the edge of the penalty area and Harry Kane smashed his shot into the back of the net and that made it 4-0 on aggregate.

Game over after 49 minutes.

Spurs are in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Ok, Poch knows that any of the teams Spurs might now face, like PSG, will be more potent than Dortmund were last night.

But Champions Real Madrid are out. Ajax beat them 4-1 in the Bernabeu.

Pochettino, a formidable tactician, can often control what kind of game it’s going to be.

Last night he really wanted it be 0-0 at half-time.

He will continue to be realistic because he knows that the QFs are more difficult.

My best friend Doug phoned just before the match to say he was going to miss it because he was going to a gig at the Brixton Academy with his son (Kamasi Washington) and I said, “This game is only about two things.Who scores the first goal. And when it’s scored.”

Today’s Telegraph sports section has an action photo featuring three footballers.

Harry Kane is jumping into the air in celebration. The nearest player to Kane is Eriksen who is not sprinting to congratulate his captain. Instead, The Dane is pointing across the pitch towards Sissoko and his gesture is saying: Well done! The weight on your pass was perfect.

I’m sick of idiots who slag off Pochettino, a fine manager I’ve never met.

However,  I spent 20 years as a football reporter with Keith Burkinshaw, Peter Shreeves, David Pleat, Terry Venables, Gerry Francis, George Graham and Glenn Hoddle, among others.

Today I’ll say two things:

  1. Pochettino is the best manager Tottenham have had since Bill Nicholson.

2. He’ll turn down Manchester United.

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