Before building the team we now know at Tottenham, one capable of competing for the top four regularly without the funding some of the clubs around them have received, Mauricio Pochettino did an impressive job at Southampton.
During his time at St Mary’s, the Argentine guided the Saints to an eighth place finish, their highest since 2003 and their record points tally in the Premier League era.
Despite spending just the one season there, the manager left his mark on some of the players at Southampton, including José Fonte, who had arrived in 2010 from Crystal Palace.
Speaking to So Foot this month, the Lille defender was full of praise for Pochettino and the work he did during his brief time at the club.
He said: “I learned a lot, especially about fitness. He wanted everyone to physically be at the top, so he made us work like crazy. We worked on our jumping with VertiMax, did a series of exercises, sometimes it was like in the military, but when we were on the pitch, we kept the intensity.
“It required a lot of concentration, but during games, we knew exactly how things would go, down to the millimetre, and in any given situation. He was the first top manager I had. He opened my eyes on a lot of the game’s areas and helped me grow through his concepts”.
That season, Fonte was nearly omnipresent in the league for Southampton, featuring in 36 of the 38 games (he was benched for two games in December), scoring three goals in the process.
Following Pochettino’s departure for Tottenham, the Portuguese stayed at the club until 2017 when West Ham paid £8.3m for his services before selling him a year later to Dalian Yifang in China.