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Pochettino engineers PSG culture shift reminiscent of early Spurs days

Mauricio Pochettino has an infinity with away-goals wins in the competition, having twice benefited from the rule in unforgettable circumstances in Tottenham’s victories over Manchester City and Ajax en route to the 2019 Final.

One of the first things Pochettino wanted to change at Spurs when he arrived in 2014 was the atmosphere and mentality at the club.

“Amazing training ground, amazing buildings, but there’s no warmth inside,” he told chairman Daniel Levy in one of their earliest meetings. Instead, the Argentine found a culture of fear, not just of the Premier League’s elite, but of facing the likes of West Ham and Crystal Palace, too.

Pochettino took simple steps to change that, organising a Christmas party for players, staff and their families and making sure to celebrate birthdays as a group. The squad was encouraged to socialise together at the training ground between the manager’s gruelling double sessions and it soon became common to see players’ families around Hotspur Way.

A new mantra of the players shaking hands every morning with each other, Pochettino, his staff and Levy created an atmosphere of warmth and respect. Pochettino quickly created a family at Spurs, a band of brothers that would go on to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe, despite a disparity in resources.

PSG have no issue with resources, but in some respects the manager and his staff faced a similar challenge when they arrived in Paris in January.

Fractured by monstrous salaries and egos, there has always been a sense that PSG as a super-club were a disparate selection of individual superstars rather than a united group.

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