Tottenham could have “easily” sacked Mauricio Pochettino after his first season at the club, says Steffen Freund, but faith is now being rewarded with challenges for major honours.
A highly-rated Argentine tactician took the reins in north London back in 2014.
Having impressed in English football at Southampton, Pochettino was appointed as successor to Andre Villas-Boas.
He finished his debut campaign in fifth spot, with five points fewer than his predecessor had managed the previous year, but was given time in which to get things right.
Former Spurs midfielder Freund, who returned to White Hart Lane as a coach under Villas-Boas, told the Daily Mail of that call: “He could have sacked him easily but Daniel Levy realised he had to stay with Mauricio.
“It was the right decision, and something positive comes back to Andre, Tim [Sherwood] and me. The club at the time was really noisy, really nervous; really angry if we didn’t beat teams at home.
“Maybe Daniel realised it would never change if he didn’t stay with the coach.”
The decision to stick with Pochettino has been vindicated by top-four finishes, title challenges and a surge into contention for domestic and European silverware.
The South American is yet to get his hands on a trophy, though, and is considered by many to require tangible success in order to complete the job asked of him.
Pochettino has sought to play down that suggestion, and Freund believes a man who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United is right to be prioritising Champions League qualification.
The German added: “I won silverware several times and I remember every moment.
“It is special for everyone because you feel it, but I have changed my view.
“Football is now more of a business and, in England, Spurs, are No. 6 financially.
“Others are stronger and Mauricio’s job is to be in the top four, so they can have more money from the Champions League, and keep the best players and the coach.
“And, I have to say it, they are above Arsenal. When we finished fifth with Andre, you could feel the pressure on the last day because if we won and Arsenal drew we were in the Champions League, above them.
“Mauricio has done it. That’s why the supporters are happy.”
Spurs, who have reached the last 16 of the Champions League this season, currently sit third in the Premier League table – five points adrift of leaders Manchester City with a game in hand.