Jesus Perez: Pochettino philosophy is 'risk with knowledge'
Written by Simon Austin — November 27, 2018
TOTTENHAM assistant Jesus Perez has described Mauricio Pochettino’s philosophy as “risk with knowledge”.
During his time in England, the Argentine has gained a reputation for his development of young players and attacking style of play.
In an exclusive interview with football.london, Perez said: "There are two ways in football to coach. You can coach with fear or you can coach the will to try.
“It's risk with knowledge. So if you say to a right-back, 'be careful with this pass, don't do this pass, don't do that', then this guy will try to choose the other three options you didn't say and it's dangerous.
"But if you say to this guy, 'be in a good position, be in a good angle and then it's up to you’, now we have one guy playing who has good skill and takes a risk in possession.
“We don't tell him to be careful, but to try to read the situations. You cannot stop the will to try to take a risk because in the end football is to create superiority, to take a risk, otherwise it's 0-0. Mauricio likes to create superiority. He has to do it because it's something inside of the player.”
At Southampton, Pochettino made homegrown players Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Callum Chambers key players in his team. This focus on youth has continued at Tottenham, with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Harry Winks all making massive strides under his charge.
Perez said: “Mauricio got his chance when he was 16 or 17 at Newell's Old Boys and that is always in his mind. No one has to explain to him what it means to give a chance.
"Then you can fail, it's not a problem. Mistakes with Mauricio are not a problem, if you behave properly, if you want it and you try and your will is good. That's why he improves a lot of players.
"He doesn't teach players. He proposes to the player a scenario, a platform to improve. If they take it they will improve. It's just practising and having the backing of your manager. That's how you improve.
"One of the key things with Mauricio and how he connects with people is that he explains why.”
Perez, who is in charge of conditioning at the club, said individualisation is key to his work.
"We do a lot of analysis and tests, but everything is to individualise the training,” he said.
"We don't treat the players as a group, we treat them as unique and some players have completely different programmes because it's the way to help them.
"I know there are probably too many things in a day to do. Maybe there will be one guy waiting for me today when I get here, today's plan is a blood test two days before a match, or two days before is saliva. They begin to know, every day a recovery test. It's probably too much but it's to help them. It's not for us.
"The staff can say this player is fresh, but what if mentally he's tired or he's worried because he had a problem, or there is something going on behind the scenes with his contract?
“With the medical staff sometimes we need to explain something that is going on around a player to help them get better or to improve. We try to know."
The Spaniard, who worked with Pochettino at Espanyol and Southampton, also gave an insight into his own working day.
"I arrive at 7.30am normally. I have half an hour breakfast in the restaurant, 15 to 20 minutes in my office on my own and then when Mauricio calls us we go to his office and we are there for 30 or 40 minutes.
"Then I go at 9am to a medical meeting in my office and we adjust 28 training plans. We discuss player by player every day.
"Then it's back to Mauricio's office until training starts. It's not only video or training and drills, you spend a lot of time doing everything and Mauricio spends time with John [McDermott, Spurs' academy head] and Steve [Hitchen, chief scout] talking, discussing and explaining.
“Then normally it depends, 5, 6 or 7pm when Mauricio decides it's enough for the day. We spend 10 to 12 hours here every day."
The duo have been working together for almost a decade and Perez said: “It's very rare that we argue.
"In almost nine years, we've had probably only two or three days when he's been upset with me.
"But you know why? Because he's very close with us. He's a very uncommon manager, because I've had experience with other ones and they've been different.
"If he discusses a new contract then first it's our contract and then afterwards his contract. Things like that mean so much. He never puts himself first.
"But in the back of my mind he's the number one. It's very rare for me to cross the line. Of course I make mistakes and I do realise when I make them, but I never overstep. It's something to know the limit."