Uncertainty over the futures of both Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte at their respective clubs continues ahead of next season.
According to reports, Paris Saint-Germain could look to poach Conte from his position at Tottenham to replace Pochettino next season, which could pave the way for the Argentine boss to return to north London. Conte only arrived at Tottenham in November after replacing Nuno Espirito Santo but question marks over his long-term future at the club have persisted.
football.london understands there is no official break clause this summer in the former Inter Milan manager’s deal, but there remains interest from PSG for the 52-year-old to replace Pochettino at the Parc des Princes stadium next season. Despite the former Spurs boss leading PSG to a league title this season, it is expected that he will leave at the end of the season, with the possibility of returning to Spurs not as outlandish as many may think.
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So, if Mauricio Pochettino was to be appointed as Conte’s replacement at Spurs ahead of next season, with the Italian moving on to PSG, what would the outcome be? To have a look, we simulated the entirety of the 2022/23 season in Football Manager 2022 with Pochettino in charge of Tottenham and Conte in charge of PSG.
Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs manager simulated
To set up this simulation, we arranged for Pochettino and Conte to swap managerial jobs on FM22 at the end of the 2021/22 season until the end of the 2022/23 season to see how each manager performed. This is Pochettino’s in-game profile on Football Manager 2022.
Pochettino is classed as an elite manager across Europe with brilliant coaching, mental and knowledge attributes. The 50-year-old excels in his Mental coaching (18), Tactical coaching (16) and Working With Youngsters (19).
Pochettino’s Adaptability (16), Determination (18), Level of Discipline (18) and Judging Player Potential (17) makes him able to tweak his tactics and demand a high level of quality and effort from his players without anyone acting out against his authority over the group. The Argentine manager tends to sign players under the age of 24 and use a pressing system with a focus on playing out from the back in a 4-3-3 formation.
In his first transfer window back as Spurs boss, the club backed Pochettino and brought in Georginio Wijnaldum from his former side PSG, as well as Kyle Walker-Peters from Southampton and Sven Botman from Lille. Harry Kane stayed at the club and had a fantastic season, scoring 16 goals and registering 14 assists in all competitions.
Heung Min-Son was the club’s top goalscorer with 19 goals in 56 appearances, with Dejan Kulusevski recording 17 goals and nine assists in 54 appearances. Spurs’ attack combined for a total of 52 goals and 33 assists in 56 games, making them one of the most clinical and creative attacks in Europe.
The midfield trio of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Rodrigo Bentancur and Gini Wijnaldum provided balance in both attack and defence, fitting into Pochettino’s pressing 4-3-3 system. Wijnaldum had the most productive season out of any midfielder, scoring 10 goals and registering four assists in 50 appearances in all competitions.
Son was the best performer at the club averaging a match rating of 7.43, ahead of Kulusevski (7.38), Kane (7.32) and Wijnaldum (7.06). Kane showed his ability to score and provide goals for teammates as Pochettino utilised him as a false nine on some occasions to get the best out of his passing and shooting.
At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall Tottenham best XI based on performances, statistics and other metrics. Here is Spurs’ best XI at the end of the 2022/23 season:
Full Spurs best XI (4-3-3): Lloris; Walker-Peters, Romero, Botman, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Wijnaldum; Kulusevski, Son, Kane.
New signings Botman, Walker-Peters and Wijnaldum all featured in Spurs’ best XI under Pochettino, replacing the likes of Matt Doherty, Eric Dier and Oliver Skipp in the starting line-up. So, how did Spurs perform in the league and cup competitions?
Spurs’ performances in the Premier League and cup competitions
Spurs finished third in the Premier League at the end of the 2022/23 season under Mauricio Pochettino, but that only tells half the story. The Lilywhites closed the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool, whilst also leapfrogging London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.
Pochettino’s side finished 14 points adrift of eventual champions Liverpool and just four points behind City. Despite losing more games (11) out of any club in the top five, Spurs were able to qualify for the Champions League due to their quality in attack with Kane, Son and Kulusevski compensating for defensive frailties.
Spurs’ performance in the league suggests there could be major improvements under Mauricio Pochettino and that the additions made to the squad in the transfer windows were effective in maintaining their form and improving results. However, Tottenham’s performances highlighted their inability to manage games as they either dominated teams and won convincingly or were unable to rely on their defence and lost games in poor fashion.
In the cup competitions, Spurs reached both domestic cup finals and lifted the club’s first trophy since the 2007/08 season after beating Aston Villa on penalties to lift the FA Cup. Liverpool just edged Spurs in the Carabao Cup final as Pochettino’s side were unable to complete a domestic double, whilst the Lilywhites were knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla in the second knockout round.
Overall, our simulation suggests that Spurs would see a huge improvement in performances and results in the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino, qualifying for the Champions League and winning the FA Cup. Spurs closed the gap to Man City whilst overtaking Chelsea and Arsenal in the league, but their inability to manage games well cost them progression in the Europa League as well as ground in the title race.
Antonio Conte as Paris Saint-Germain manager simulated
So, how would Conte get on as manager of PSG? This is Conte’s in-game profile on Football Manager 2022.
The 52-year-old prefers a vertical tiki-taka style of play in a 5-2-3 formation, relying on the wing backs to provide width in attack with the three forwards playing narrow. Conte’s teams tend to counter-attack, play out of defence and press from the front, relying on their solid formation to protect leads.
Kylian Mbappe left the club to join Real Madrid following the arrival of Conte, with the Italian bringing in Gabriel Barbosa and Luis Muriel as his replacements in attack. Lionel Messi was the top performer for the club under Conte, averaging a match rating of 7.50, scoring 19 goals and registering eight assists in 46 appearances.
Neymar had a poor season under Conte, scoring just 11 goals and registering six assists, being outscored by new signing Gabriel Barbosa (12) and matching Angel Di Maria’s goal tally, despite the Argentina international only starting 11 games. Luis Muriel came in and rotated with Gabriel Barbosa in attack as PSG struggled to replace Mbappe’s performance level in the side.
At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall PSG best XI based on performances, statistics and other metrics. Below is PSG’s best XI at the end of the 2022/23 season under Conte:
Full PSG best XI (5-2-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Ramos, Kimpembe, Bernat; Paredes, Verratti; Messi, Neymar, Muriel.
Muriel was the only new signing to feature in the PSG best XI in the 2022/23 season as Conte switched to his preferred 5-2-3 formation. Verratti and Paredes provided midfield cover after the departure of Wijnaldum to Spurs, with Messi and Neymar playing wide of Muriel in attack.
Paris Saint-Germain’s performance in Ligue 1 and cup competitions
Conte’s PSG side were crowned champions of Ligue 1 after only losing four games throughout the 2022/23 season. The Italian led his side to finish eight points clear of Lyon, with the best goal difference in the division by +14.
Despite losing Mbappe’s impact in attack, PSG were able to rely on their defensive performance to get results as Conte’s 5-3-2 system worked wonders in Ligue 1. In the cup competitions, PSG made it a domestic double after beating Stade de Reims in the French Cup final, with goals from Paredes, Icardi and Sarabia handing Conte’s side a 3-1 win, whilst the French outfit were dumped out of the Champions League quarter-finals after a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Liverpool.
Overall, our Football Manager 2022 simulations suggests that if Conte and Pochettino were to swap managerial positions at Spurs and PSG, Conte would be more successful in terms of silverware but it would be Pochettino and Spurs that would see the biggest improvement in performance and results. Whilst Conte was able to win a domestic double in his first season in charge in Paris, Pochettino took Spurs back into the Champions League whilst lifting the FA Cup for the first time since the 1990/91 season and the club’s first trophy since 2008.
Would you swap Antonio Conte for Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs this summer? Let us know in the comments!
Source by Football London