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Can Poch handle the pressure on BT Sport?

Can Poch handle the pressure on BT Sport?

As Spurs face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on BT Sport, a sports psychologist has some useful advice

Mauricio Pochettino’s future remains up in the air. What this Tottenham boss needs is some sage advice…

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Munich, Tuesday 1 October, 7pm, BT Sport 1 HD (CH 527)

Who’d be a football manager? One minute you’re the toast of the town, the next you’re clinging to your job with chewed fingernails. Isn’t that right, Mauricio Pochettino?


The Argentine has helped transformed Tottenham Hotspur from entertaining also-rans to a club challenging for the biggest honours, but could it all be about to go belly up? Rumours about his impending departure persist following an underwhelming start to the season, while his own vague words on the situation have left people, well, stumped.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Maurcio Pochettino

And Poch’s job isn’t about to get any easier. Up next for Spurs in the UEFA Champions League is a home clash with Group B rivals Bayern Munich, which you can watch live and exclusive on BT Sport. Lose this encounter to the Bavarians and the next sound he’ll hear could be chairman Daniel Levy sharpening his axe.


With the pressure mounting, what’s a world-class manager to do? Listening to a sports psychologist might help. Dr Victor Thompson, who’s been helping athletes and teams reach their full potential for 15 years, has five top tips on how the Tottenham manager can keep a level head on the path to potential glory…


1. Don’t be a dictator

“There’s only so much you can do, and much that you can’t do or influence. Place your energy into what gives your team the best return. Think about what you can do to help your team’s performance. Allow people to play their role too. Delegate. Encourage. Provide clarity of purpose to others. Having clear plans and ownership over these helps to give confidence. If you are confident, you aren’t stressed, as these are opposite states.”


2. Breathe!

“When stressed, we often breathe in a more shallow and rapid manner. To help reduce stress and physiological arousal, breathe slower. Focus on your breathing. As you slow it, it will become deeper naturally. As you focus on your breathing, less of your mind’s attention is available to spin-out on whatever disaster it wants to worry you about. Your thinking becomes clearer, calmer, more helpful too.”


3. Do your homework

Tottenham Hotspur manager Maurcio Pochettino

“However the game goes (a win, a draw, a loss, a great game, a shocker, or somewhere in-between) conduct a review of what went on, try to extract learning points, then make a decision to move on from it.”


4. Stop thinking you’re top dog

“You are not alone, not solely responsible. There is a team of players and support staff, including assistant managers and coaches, so know that you are not the only determinant of performance or solely responsible for what happens. Others must shoulder some of the responsibility for what happens too.”


5. Learn to chillax

“Find time away from the game, the venue, the players and staff. Find time doing non-football stuff, whether this is time spent with family, friends (but no football talk!), going for a walk, a run… it doesn’t matter what, just something to get your mind off the job and onto something else. This will help you settle and be more able to be a manager when it is time to do that job.”


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